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Photograph: Unsplash/Esaias Tan

Breaking news: PM Lee addresses the nation on the Covid-19 situation and next steps

Will we have less restrictions? Will we be getting rid of VTLs? Will the magic cup make an appearance?

Delfina Utomo
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Delfina Utomo
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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will give an update on Singapore's Covid-19 situation in an address to the nation at 11am, with the multi-ministry taskforce following up with a press conference of their own. There's been a lot of speculation as to what he will be announcing today. Perhaps more relaxed restrictions and safe management measures? Or no more VTLs? Or even an increase in numbers for social gatherings? We'll bring the important takeaways as we go along. 

After providing an overview of the situation, Prime Minister Lee runs through the impact of the Delta and Omicron waves. Daily cases have been coming down, and daily infections were halved in about three weeks.  He mentioned that “our population has stronger immunity” and that “the pressure is now easing”.

Social gatherings will increase to ten people 
But one-metre distancing between groups will still be observed. Up to 75 percent of employees who WFH will be able to return to their workplace. There will also be an increased capacity limit for events. 

Wearing masks in outdoor settings is optional
Wearing masks outdoors will be optional but indoor settings will still be compulsory. This new rule will start from March 29, Tuesday.

Opening land travel between Singapore and Malaysia
This is still in discussion between the two parties but Singapore and Malaysia have agreed to start working towards resuming full air and land travel for vaccinated people.

Fourth vaccine dose?
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the Ministry of Health has agreed to the expert committee's recommendation of a fourth vaccine dose for those who are immunocompromised, have serious chronic disease, those in aged care facilities or aged 80 and above. However, there are no plans to extend the fourth dose to the rest of the population. 

No more VTLs
Minister for Transport & Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations Mr Iswaran announced details on border and travel processes. Fully vaccinated travellers arriving via air or sea from places in the General Travel category do not need to apply for a vaccinated travel pass before entering Singapore. 

There will be no more VTL flights or ferries. Fully vaccinated travellers can take any flight or ferry to Singapore to be accorded quarantine free treatment upon arrival. 
Fully vaccinated travellers will not be required to take an on-arrival test. For now, those arriving by air and sea will still need to submit a negative pre-departure test result taken within two days of departure for Singapore.

Cheers to alcohol after 10.30pm
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong announced that the current restriction on F&B establishments on the sale and consumption of alcohol after 10.30pm will be lifted. Live performances will also be allowed to resume at all venues. He added that they will still be looking into the resumption of nightlife activities like bars, pubs, nightclubs and karaoke clubs and will update the public soon. 

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