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It has been more than a year since the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level was adjusted to Green on 13 February 2023. During this time, we have been living with COVID-19 as an endemic disease and weathered two major infection waves without the need to impose further restrictions. Taking into consideration the stronger collective resilience of our population, the Ministry of Health (MOH) will progressively stand down the remaining COVID-19 response protocols, and integrate them into our broader public health programmes from 1 March 2024.

Mask-Wearing Requirements in Healthcare and Residential Care Settings

2. Currently, MOH requires mask-wearing in healthcare and residential care settings1. From 1 March 2024, we will step down the mask-wearing requirements at lower-risk settings. 

3. Mask-wearing will no longer be compulsory for patients, visitors and staff in outpatient settings, including polyclinics, General Practitioner clinics, specialist outpatient clinics, dialysis centres, Traditional Chinese Medicine clinics and dental clinics. However, mask-wearing is still strongly encouraged for medically vulnerable persons, seniors and persons with acute respiratory infection (ARI) in these settings. 

4. To protect medically vulnerable persons and seniors, mask-wearing will continue to be required for higher-risk healthcare settings, including inpatient wards, emergency departments and residential care facilities. We intend for this to be a standing requirement, to improve general infection control practices in these areas. Inpatients of hospitals and residents of residential care facilities are not required to wear a mask. Nevertheless, as good practice, we encourage residents and inpatients to wear a mask if they are unwell or develop ARI symptoms.  

Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations 

5. Given that most individuals have had one or more prior infections with COVID-19 and will have some underlying protection even if unvaccinated, the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination (EC19V), has recommended that two initial doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be sufficient to ensure an essential level of protection, down from the current recommendation of minimum protection with three initial doses. Individuals should also go for any additional doses being offered or recommended to them based on prevailing recommendations.

6. MOH has accepted EC19V’s updated recommendation and encourages all eligible persons of the following:

a. Unvaccinated persons should receive two initial vaccine doses at an interval of eight weeks apart.

b. An additional dose of an updated vaccine for 2024 continues to be recommended, and should be administered around one year (and no earlier than five months) after the last dose received. The additional dose is:

i. Recommended for all persons aged 60 years and above, medically vulnerable individuals, and residents of aged care facilities. Next-of-kin of residents of aged care facilities (e.g. nursing homes) are reminded to provide consent (if necessary) in a timely manner, if they intend to enable the residents to receive an additional dose of the updated vaccine.

ii. Encouraged for all individuals aged six months and above, in particular healthcare workers, as well as household members and caregivers of medically vulnerable individuals.

EC19V to handover COVID-19 role to Expert Committee on Immunisation 

7. Appointed on 5 October 2020, the EC19V has been instrumental in advising the government on the national COVID-19 vaccination strategy. Their expertise has been invaluable in assessing the vaccines and making vaccination recommendations in the context of Singapore’s population. MOH extends our deepest gratitude to the EC19V for their dedication, expertise and guidance. 

8. After the EC19V’s term ends on 31 March 2024, the Expert Committee on Immunisation (ECI) will take over the role of advising the government on issues relating to COVID-19 vaccination. The ECI is a standing committee that provides advice on nationally recommended immunisations for children and adults. It will continue the important work of ensuring that our national strategy for the prevention and control of vaccine preventable diseases, including COVID-19, through immunisation remains robust and responsive to the latest scientific evidence and epidemiological trends.

Closure of Mass Vaccination Locations 

9. In view of the stable demand for COVID-19 vaccination, MOH will cease operations at four of our Joint Testing & Vaccination Centres (JTVCs) at Ang Mo Kio, Jurong West, Pasir Ris and Yishun from 1 April 2024. Individuals who wish to receive their vaccinations at these locations should do so by 30 March 2024. 

10. Following this consolidation, the five remaining JTVCs are located at Bukit Merah, Jurong East, Kaki Bukit, Sengkang and Woodlands.

11. COVID-19 vaccinations will continue to be available at more than 200 participating Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) and polyclinics located islandwide. We are working to bring in more GP clinics and polyclinics to offer COVID-19 vaccination, to ensure that COVID-19 vaccination remains accessible to the community.

12. Members of the public can visit for the nearest vaccination sites and the vaccine types offered. Individuals who wish to receive their vaccination may book an appointment at a PHPC through, or at selected polyclinics through the HealthHub booking system. Alternatively, individuals may walk into any JTVC without an appointment. 

Inclusion of COVID-19 Statistics in Weekly Infectious Diseases Bulletin

13. During the pandemic, daily updates of the COVID-19 statistics served to keep the public updated on the rapidly evolving local situation. From 1 March 2024, we will align the reporting of COVID-19 surveillance statistics with other infectious diseases monitored by MOH, such as influenza. The statistics will be reported in the Weekly Infectious Diseases Bulletin, which is accessible from the MOH website.

14. Even as we take these steps to integrate our COVID-19 response into our broader public health programmes, MOH will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation, both domestic and international, and update our public health strategies to protect the health and well-being of all Singaporeans. We seek the support of the public to keep up to date with their vaccination and exercise social responsibility. In this way, we can continue to protect ourselves and our families, especially our seniors and the medically vulnerable.

29 FEBRUARY 2024

Residential care settings include nursing homes, psychiatric rehabilitation homes, psychiatric sheltered home and inpatient hospice.

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