From next Monday (Feb. 13), mask-wearing will not be required on public transport and indoor healthcare and residential care settings.
The further relaxation of Covid-19 rules was announced on Feb. 9 by the multi-ministry taskforce (MTF).
However, visitors, staff and patients in healthcare and residential care settings will still have to wear a face mask when interacting with patients and in indoor patient-facing areas.
Examples of these places are hospital wards, clinics and nursing homes.
This will be a requirement by the Ministry of Health (MOH), rather than mandated under the Covid-19 regulations, to protect both patients and healthcare workers from infectious diseases in general, MOH explained.
This is similar to how mask or spit guard wearing is required by food handlers for food safety reasons.
Private enterprises can choose to maintain mask-wearing requirement as part of the company policy for workplace health and safety or business continuity reasons, the press release added.
MOH still encourages members of the public, especially the elderly and immunocompromised, to wear masks in crowded places, or when visiting or interacting with vulnerable persons.
Those who are unwell with Covid-19 symptoms or respiratory infections are also strongly advised to wear a mask when they are out.
Stable global and local situation
According to MOH, the number of new cases has been declining since late Dec. 2022, and viral variants of higher severity have not emerged.
Furthermore, cases in the Northern Hemisphere and in China are rapidly subsiding and there is no significant increase in the number of imported cases in Singapore.
The World Health Organisation has also signalled the global Covid-19 emergency may be ending soon, MOH added.
Locally, MOH also highlighted a high level of hybrid immunity against Covid-19 in our population.
Over Jan. 2023, the daily number of Covid-19 related hospitalisations stayed below 100 and the number of patients warded in the Intensive Care Unit remained in the single digits.
Top image by Mothership