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File picture shows healthcare worker Sarah Lim receiving her Covid-19 vaccine at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in Singapore December 30, 2020. — Ministry of Communications and Information handout via Reuters
File picture shows healthcare worker Sarah Lim receiving her Covid-19 vaccine at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in Singapore December 30, 2020. — Ministry of Communications and Information handout via Reuters

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SINGAPORE, July 26 – Singapore expects to vaccinate about 80 per cent of its population with two doses of Covid-19 vaccine by early-September, according to Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong.

“We will then be able to ease the restrictions further, including allowing larger groups to get together, especially if they are fully vaccinated,” he said when delivering his Ministerial Statement on Multi-Ministry Taskforce’s fifth update on whole-of-government responses to Covid-19 at Parliament.

Wong who is the co-chair of the Taskforce on Covid-19 said Singapore will also begin to re-open its borders, especially for vaccinated persons to travel.

“We will start by establishing travel corridors with countries or regions that have managed Covid-19 well, and where the infection is similarly under control,” he said.

As of July 24, Singapore has administered a total of 7,130,781 doses of Covid-19 vaccines, with 3,020,766 individuals having completed the full vaccination regimen.

Wong noted that fully vaccinated persons will then be able to travel without needing to serve the full 14-day Stay Home Notice (SHN) in a hotel when they return.

“Depending on the risk level of the country they visit, we will either replace the SHN with a rigorous testing regime, or shorten the SHN to seven days at home.

“This will allow vaccinated persons to travel more freely. Those who are not vaccinated can still travel, but will be subjected to the prevailing SHN requirements,” he said.

The minister, among others, also said that Singapore has to expect new variants to emerge which may be more transmissible, more lethal, or more successful at evading the present vaccines

“We will find solutions to these variants, especially through booster shots or updated vaccines, which we may need to roll out nationwide.

“But we must be prepared that the new variants can lead to more severe outbreaks, and may well force us to introduce restrictions again from time to time,” he said. — Bernama

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