25th Feb 2021
Mr Yip Hon Weng
MP for Yio Chu Kang
Question No. 727
To ask the Minister for Health (a) what are the Ministry’s plans for Singapore to ease out of Phase Three; (b) what are the specific criteria that must be fulfilled for the current Phase Three restrictions to be lifted; and (c) whether a certain vaccination rate must be achieved before we can explore an exit from Phase Three.
Phase Three is a new normal which will last until the time when there is evidence on vaccine effectiveness in preventing future outbreaks, and a substantial proportion of the population is vaccinated, and the rest of the world also has the virus under control.
Since we entered Phase Three of our re-opening on 28 December 2020, we have seen increased COVID-19 outbreaks in many countries around the world and the emergence of more transmissible viral variants. Several weeks ago, we also faced an increase in unlinked and community cases in Singapore. Hence, even within Phase Three, we had tightened community safe management measures and recalibrated the pace and scale at which activities were able to resume. While the outbreaks in several countries have abated in recent weeks, we need to remain vigilant. We will continue to find ways to allow our economy and our society to further re-open in a safe way. But given the dynamic situation here and around the world, we will need to adjust our safe management measures from time to time. We do not expect to move out of Phase Three any time soon.
The vaccines approved in Singapore have been shown to be effective in providing protection against the COVID-19 virus. We are awaiting more evidence about how effective they will be about preventing transmission. We are also closely monitoring their effectiveness against new viral variants. Meanwhile, our best strategy is to continue to be disciplined about safe management measures, and achieve a high level of vaccination within our population to boost our collective immunity.
Singapore has made good progress on our vaccination programme. We are continuing to bring in more vaccine supplies, and we encourage all eligible Singaporeans to get vaccinated, to protect themselves and others around them.