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Singapore’s new approach to COVID-19 is simple: vaccinate and live with it

The city-state’s official task force is working on a plan to return to the new normal

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People wear masks at a supermarket in Singapore, Friday, May 14, 2021.

People wear masks and observe social distancing while lining up to pay at a supermarket in Singapore, Friday, May 14, 2021. Singapore further tightened its COVID-19 measures as it sought to control an increase in untraceable coronavirus infections in the city-state.

Associated Press

The official coronavirus task force of Singapore has announced it is “drawing up a road map to transit to this new normal,” reports Bloomberg. The Asian island nation has endured 18 months of restrictions and finally, an exit plan is in sight.

  • Singapore's post-pandemic road map will take a simple approach: vaccinate and live with COVID-19 like other endemic viruses, says Reuters.

What is Singapore’s new COVID-19 plan?

The details of reopening have not yet been announced, says Bloomberg. However, officials plan to loosen travel restrictions, gathering limits and social distancing requirements for fully vaccinated individuals.

  • Rather than monitor the daily number of infections, Singapore will begin monitoring the outcome of how many people fall sick, says Reuters.
  • COVID-19 testing will shift from being used for quarantines to being used for ensuring social activities can happen safely, Reuters reports.

How has Singapore managed coronavirus outbreaks?

The city-state has mitigated outbreaks by maintaining strict rules for mask wearing, social distancing, contact tracing and traveling, says Reuters. Reopenings have remained conservative and slow even with an increasingly vaccinated population.

  • As of Thursday, Singapore has recorded a total of 65,493 COVID-19 cases and only 35 deaths, says CNBC.

What are vaccinations like in Singapore?

Singapore has had one of the fastest vaccination rollouts in the Asia Pacific, but still falls behind vaccination campaigns in Western countries, says CNBC.

  • Out of a population of 5.8 million, 3 million people have received at least one dose, says CNBC.
  • So far, 2 million people in Singapore have been fully vaccinated.

The country has only offered Pfizer and Moderna vaccines so far. However, the government recently signed an advance agreement with Novavax whose vaccine has a 90.4% overall effectiveness in the third phase of clinical trials, says CNBC.

Officials hope to have two-thirds of the population fully vaccinated by Singapore’s National Day on Aug. 9, says Reuters.

  • To meet this goal, officials are expanding vaccination eligibility to all residents above the age of 12 beginning on July 2, says Bloomberg.
  • Officials are also expanding vaccination capacity from the current 47,000 daily doses to 80,000 daily doses, reports Bloomberg.