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Final Stretch of Dormitory Clearance; Further Steps Towards a New COVID Normal

       Over the coming weeks, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce will continue taking further steps towards a new COVID-normal. We are in the final stretch of dormitory clearances, which will allow the vast majority of workers to resume work by mid to late August 2020. As we gradually open our borders, we are adjusting our charging policy for COVID-19 treatment to support returning travellers should they be infected while participating in permitted essential travel. While more activities and events are allowed to resume over time, most events should remain fully virtual or hybrid physical-virtual where possible to protect our loved ones and fellow Singaporeans. 

Progress of Dormitory Clearance

2.     The Inter-agency Taskforce will complete the testing of all workers in the dormitories by 7 August 2020. This means that all the dormitories will be COVID-cleared, with the exception of several standalone blocks which serve as quarantine facilities.

3.      The workers in these quarantine facilities will be tested when their isolation ends, and case counts will remain high. After completing their isolation, most of the workers will be able to resume work once the dormitory operators and employers complete the necessary preparations to do so in a safe manner.  

Expediting the Return of Workers to Work

4.      Government agencies are also working closely with the employers to ensure that their workers practise safe living and safe distancing measures at sites and dormitories.  With the completion of dormitory clearance and facilitation of resumption of work by sector agencies, we expect the vast majority of dormitory residents to be able to resume work by mid to late August (i.e. have AccessCode green).

Revised Charging Policy for COVID-19 Treatment for Travellers 

5.     The Government has been bearing the costs of inpatient medical bills for Singapore Citizens (SCs)/ Permanent Residents (PRs)/ Long-Term Pass Holders (LTPHs) who require treatment for COVID-19 at public healthcare institutions (PHIs). This does not apply to individuals who breach travel advisories. SCs/ PRs/ LTPHs who travel overseas from 27 Mar 2020 onwards are required to pay for their own inpatient medical bills in full should they have onset of symptoms within 14 days of returning to Singapore. They will also not be able to claim from MediShield Life or Integrated Shield Plans in public and private hospitals, should they require COVID-19 inpatient care.

6.     The Government is gradually permitting essential travel through various travel arrangements. From 7 August 2020, all outbound SCs/ PRs/ LTPHs travellers who travel abroad under permitted travel arrangements will be able to tap on regular healthcare financing arrangements for their inpatient medical bills, should they have onset of symptoms within 14 days of their return to Singapore and require hospital admission for suspected COVID-19 infection. In other words, SCs/PRs will be eligible for Government subsidies and MediShield Life/ Integrated Shield Plans coverage, and will be required to pay any remaining co-payment. LTPHs may tap on their prevailing financing arrangements (e.g. foreign worker insurance), where applicable. 

7.     The permitted travel arrangements to which the above applies include Green/ Fast Lanes which are currently in place, as well as any permitted travel arrangement that may be implemented in the future.    

8.     SCs/ PRs/ LTPHs who are not under permitted travel arrangements and travel in breach of the travel advisories will continue to pay for their COVID-19 inpatient medical bills in full with no access to subsidies and MediShield Life/ Integrated Shield Plan coverage. 

9.   Short-Term Pass Holders entering Singapore under permitted travel arrangements will remain responsible for their medical bills, should they test positive for COVID-19.

Gradual Resumption of Activities; Most Events to Remain Virtual 

10.      On 4 August 2020, we launched a pilot for wedding receptions of up to 50 persons. The list of places where wedding receptions can be held is being gradually expanded to include more venues. For now, wedding receptions are allowed only in controlled venues where safe management measures can be better implemented and enforced, such as restaurants, hotels, and public and private function rooms. For example, selected indoor function spaces managed by NParks have been available for wedding receptions since 4 August 2020 while function rooms and multi-purpose halls at community centres/clubs will be available from 31 August 2020. 

11.     In order to reduce our total risk exposure, most other events should continue to remain virtual for now. These include large gatherings and festivities surrounding national and community occasions such as National Day (e.g. community concerts and observance ceremonies) and Seventh Lunar Month events (e.g. live auctions, getai performances). 

12.       Seventh Lunar Month prayers and post-funeral religious rites conducted by religious organisations with a good track record of implementing safe management measures, or by religious workers endorsed by these religious organisations, will be allowed to take place in places of worship and some external venues such as HDB common areas. The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth will release details shortly. 

Taking Steady Steps Towards the New Normal 

13.       The Multi-Ministry Taskforce will continue to monitor the situation closely as we take steady steps towards a new normal. Social responsibility remains key, and we will need to work and innovate together so that we can achieve a new COVID-19 normal where we can resume most activities and events safely. 

6 AUGUST 2020

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