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Easing of Singapore’s COVID-19 measures timely, healthcare system can ‘cope well’

SINGAPORE (CNA) – People in Singapore may be seen without a mask outdoors from March 29, a departure from a sight that has marked the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Singapore prepares to ease COVID-19 restrictions on group sizes, household visitors, travel and workplace measures, health experts told CNA the move is timely given that the peak of the Omicron wave is over.

Previously there was uncertainty over how big the wave would be, as well as concerns over the number of hospitalisations and their effect on the overall healthcare system.

“Now that the number of cases in general wards is about half the level it was at the peak, we have much more confidence about being able to handle any relaxation of measures, which is why I think it’s the right time,” said vice dean of research at the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health Associate Professor Alex Cook.

Professor Josip Car from Nanyang Technological University pointed to Singapore’s high vaccination and booster rates.

Given that a “significant proportion” of the population has developed some immunity post-infection in the past months, this is an appropriate time to ease restrictions, added founding director of the Centre for Population Health Sciences at Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine Professor Car.

“We can expect no negative surprises and that the health system will be able to cope well with infection cases,” he said.