Singapore COVID Restrictions Under Heightened Alert
Updates on Heightened Alert Status | Additional Measures & Restrictions
With the recent increase in the number of unlinked COVID-19 community cases and clusters, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced a state of heightened alert on 4 May 2021 with additional measures and restrictions would be put in place. This was done to minimize the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in the Singaporean community.
The following locations have been flagged for government-funded Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) Swab Tests as positive COVID-19 individuals have been recorded as visiting these areas (as of 19 May 2021):
- Changi Airport Terminal 3 (Swab by 26 May 2021)
- White Sands Shopping Mall (Swab by 31 May 2021)
- JEM and Westgate Shopping Malls (Swab by 1 June 2021)
The above-mentioned government-funded swab tests can be administered at WL&H Medical Centre.
Use of Antigen Rapid Tests (ARTs) for Swifter Detection
To assist with swifter detection of COVID-19 cases in this heightened alert status, there has been an expansion of testing strategy to allow for a quicker response.
Antigen Rapid Tests (ARTs), which were previously mainly deployed for Pre-Event Testing (PET), are now recommended to be administered to all individuals who present themselves with any Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) symptoms. ARI symptoms include:
- Fever (temperature of ≥37.5°C)
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Body ache
- Loss of smell
- Shortness of breath
In the event that you do display signs of ARI, you will be required to undergo a Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) Test and an additional Antigen Rapid Test (ART) for the COVID-19 virus should you also meet any of the following criteria:
- Signs and symptoms suggestive of Community-Acquired Pneumonia
- Recently returned from travel from overseas within the past 14 days
- Close contact1 with a case of COVID-19 infection
- Stayed in a foreign worker dormitory
- Worked in occupations or environments with higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 cases
- Experienced prolonged symptoms of ARI of 4 days or more without recovering and have not undergone prior swabbing for the same episode of illness
Individuals who meet the Enhanced Swab-and-Send-Home (SASH) criteria are recommended to undergo the RT-PCR Test and have the option to undergo the recommended ART Test. The Enhanced SASH encompasses:
- Individuals who present symptoms of ARI, with or without fever who:
- Work or live in communal settings (e.g. residential, custodial, or special care facilities)
- Are immunosuppressed (e.g. end-stage renal disease patients undergoing haemodialysis, or cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy)
- are aged 13 years or older
Individuals who present symptoms of ARI but do not meet the Enhanced SASH criteria (i.e. ARI patients aged 12 and below) are strongly encouraged to take the ART and RT-PCR test. This is to assist in identifying the COVID-19 infection early and to reduce your 5-day Stay Home Notice (SHN).
Please note that the following combinations of tests (should you meet the SASH criteria) will be covered by the Singaporean Government during the period of heightened alert:
- RT-PCR Test Only
- ART and RT-PCR Test
In the event that you show signs and symptoms of ARI but only want to undergo the ART without the RT-PCR Test, you will not be covered by the Singapore SASH Scheme and will have to pay the clinic price for the ART at your own expense.
Upon diagnosis of ARI, you will be given a 5-day Stay-Home-Notice (SHN) and will have to wait for a negative RT-PCR Test result or for your SHN period to be over. A negative ART result does not shorten your SHN period.
Source: Ministry of Health, May 14, 2021, Infographic: Rafa Estrada, CNA
Updated Safety Measures and Restrictions During Heightened Alert
The nature of the increase in the cases is indicative of higher attack rates and secondary transmission that occurs in “mask-off” settings, households, and eateries.
To tighten their control on community transmissions, indoor activities that allow for masks to be taken off will cease. This includes (but is not limited to) the cessation of:
- Dining-in at F&B establishments
- Strenuous indoor exercise classes
- Strenuous individual and group indoor sports and exercise activities
- Personalised services (e.g. facials and saunas)
- Playing of instruments that require intentional expulsion of air
Other community measures have also been put in place or made more stringent, like:
- Maximum group sizes of 2 persons*
- Up to 2 unique household visitors per day*
- 2 social gatherings per day, be it in a household or in a public place
- Work-from-home becoming the default
- No cross-deployment
- No social gatherings allowed
*Grandchildren being cared for by grandparents need not be included in the number of household visitors or social gatherings per day
During this heightened alert phase, we would like to seek your understanding and patience as our clinic measures have also, likewise, been tightened to ensure the safe processing and triage of patients.
The WL&H Team remains dedicated to providing you with quality service and professionalism. To aid us in providing you efficient service during this period of heightened alert, please do try to make an appointment prior to coming to our clinic in order for us to prevent overcrowding of the clinic and to ensure that you get served in a timely manner.
Learn more about the Heightened Alert Phase and Measures at gov.sg.
You may also refer to the Channel News Asia Article here.
To learn more about Antigen Rapid Tests, please refer to our website.