Masks no longer mandatory, Covid-19 border measures removed as Singapore enters Dorscon Green

MASK-WEARING will no longer be legally mandated in Singapore, even in public transport and healthcare settings, as the city-state lowers its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) level to green. Remaining Covid-related border measures will also be removed.

These changes will kick in on Feb 13, said the multi-ministry taskforce on Covid-19 on Thursday (Feb 9), in its final press conference before being stood down.

Singapore is making this move as the Covid-19 situation has remained stable despite increased travel in the year-end holidays and China’s shift away from its zero-Covid policy, said taskforce co-chair and Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.

“This new normal is not static,” he added, noting that the virus will continue to evolve and new infection waves may occur. “But unless it is a very dangerous and virulent variant, we will manage these waves with an appropriate level of measures that will allow us to continue to live our lives normally.”

Separately, from Apr 1, Covid-19 testing and treatment will no longer be fully subsidised. But vaccinations will continue to be offered free to all Singapore citizens, permanent residents, long-term pass holders and certain short-term pass holders under the National Vaccination Programme.

While it will no longer be mandated under Covid-19 regulations, the Ministry of Health (MOH) will still require masks to be worn by visitors, staff and patients in healthcare and residential care settings where there is interaction with patients and in indoor patient-facing areas.

Besides healthcare, other authorities may require mask-wearing, “just as the Singapore Food Agency has required food handlers to wear a mask or spit guard for food safety reasons”, said MOH in a press release. Private enterprises may also choose to make mask-wearing part of company policy.

With Singapore having earlier removed border curbs for vaccinated travellers, remaining measures for non-vaccinated travellers will also be removed. From Feb 13, non-fully vaccinated travellers entering Singapore will not need to show proof of a negative pre-departure test, nor will they be required to purchase Covid-19 travel insurance.

But all travellers entering Singapore via air or sea, including residents, must still submit a health declaration via the SG Arrival Card e-service. MOH continues to screen travellers for other infectious diseases of concern, such as yellow fever, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Ebola.

The Vaccinated Travel Framework also remains ready for reactivation “if there are international developments of concern, such as new severe variants or signs that our healthcare capacity is strained by imported cases”, said MOH. 

With the multi-ministry taskforce being stood down, MOH will assume the management of the Covid-19 situation.

Singapore’s Dorscon level had been at orange for more than two years, from Feb 7, 2020. On Apr 22, 2022, it was downgraded to yellow. The colour-coded framework shows the current disease situation, with Dorscon Green meaning the disease either is mild, or is severe but does not spread easily.

TraceTogether and SafeEntry, which were used for contact tracing and safe management, will be stepped down. Members of the public can uninstall their TraceTogether app and enterprises can do the same for the SafeEntry (Business) app. A token return exercise will take place from Feb 13 to Mar 12 and members of the public can return their tokens at all 108 community clubs/centres.

From Mar 1, the Manpower Ministry will align measures for migrant workers living in dormitories. Workers with mild acute respiratory infection symptoms may recover in their dormitory; Covid-19 tests will only be administered for symptomatic vulnerable workers or those with severe symptoms. The Popular Places Pass, a contingency measure to manage crowding in four designated popular locations on Sundays and public holidays, will be discontinued from Feb 13.