Asian city state to drop indoor mask rule
The Republic of Singapore is set to lift its indoor mask requirement, announcing an end to one of the island’s few remaining Covid containment policies as it steadily returns to normal.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung told reporters on Wednesday that the mask rule will be phased out on August 29, or the beginning of next week, meaning residents will only be required to cover their faces on public transit and in healthcare facilities.
Officials will also relax rules for non-vaccinated travelers starting next Monday, when the government will do away with a mandatory seven-day quarantine period.
The small island nation lifted most of its coronavirus rules and largely reopened its economy earlier this year, as the health minister noted that some 70% of Singapore’s population had already contracted the illness and that re-infection rates are “very low.” Moreover, more than 90% of Singapore’s 5.5 million residents have been vaccinated against the illness, helping to keep mortality low compared to surrounding countries.
During a speech on Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hinted that the masking rules would soon be eased, observing that Singapore’s latest wave of infections had subsided, but said details would follow later. According to Health Ministry figures, daily case counts have fallen from a peak of 10,000 earlier this summer to just 3,000 as of August 20.