Monday, November 28, 2022

Next year, Singapore will require vaccinations or daily tests to gain access to jobs.

Next year, Singapore will require vaccinations or daily tests to gain access to jobs.

Although only 4 percent of Singapore’s workforce is not vaccinated against Covid-19, the government announced on Saturday that a vaccination or testing mandate for virtually every worker in the public and private sectors will take effect in January.

Those who refuse vaccinations will have to pay for a daily test and get a negative result before they return to work.

The Health Ministry said the country is experiencing the worst wave of infections.

“There is still no sign of a decline in the number of cases,” Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said Wednesday as the country reported 18 new deaths, the highest number in a single day since the pandemic began. Singapore reported a record 3,994 daily cases on Tuesday.

The government maintains some of the world’s strictest restrictions on the transmission of Covid. In June, he announced that he would abandon his zero-exposure strategy for the Covid virus – a shift made possible by the country’s high vaccination rate. As of Friday, about 82 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated.

The Ministry of Health said that only those who are fully vaccinated, have recovered from Covid-19 in the past 270 days, are pregnant, or are not medically eligible to be vaccinated will be able to work in person without daily tests.

About 96 percent of Singapore’s workforce is fully vaccinated, Commerce Minister Gan Kim Young told a news conference on Saturday. Some 113,000 workers were left unvaccinated, and more than 10 percent were elderly, he said.

“We would like to seek help from employers to encourage their unvaccinated employees to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” he said.

Even with one of the best vaccination rates in the world, the number of new coronavirus cases in recent weeks has been higher than ever, with two-thirds of Singapore’s intensive care capacity in use.

“In the current environment, we face a significant risk of overloading the healthcare system,” Treasury Secretary Lawrence Wong said Wednesday.

Singapore’s cautious approach to the pandemic contrasts with that of the United States and Europe, where there are fewer restrictions on meeting friends, partying, playing sports or dining out. However, vaccination requirements are becoming more prevalent in these countries – last week Italy adopted broad rules for workplace vaccination.

Singapore only allows one public gathering of up to two people a day and bans unvaccinated people from eating lunch or going to cafes if they have not been tested within the previous 24 hours.

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