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Singaporeans who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter malls or dine in at hawker centers and coffeeshops starting today, as part of efforts to reduce transmissions and avoid overloading of hospitals. 

The tightened rules kick in today with a seven-day grace period. Exemptions have been given to those seeking medical and childcare services, children under 12, and unvaccinated individuals who have recovered from the coronavirus. From Oct. 20, violators will face penalties such as fines. 

Unvaccinated individuals who require medical or childcare services at malls will need to show proof of appointment or a letter from the school. 

Workers at affected establishments who have not gotten their jabs are required to get tested twice a week. 

Nearly 6,000 people reportedly signed an online petition demanding the government do away with the restrictions they said were denying them access to essential goods and services, before the Change.org page was removed. 

Singapore may have inoculated more than 80% of its population, but it has been seeing its worst wave of coronavirus infections in recent weeks after COVID-19 measures were relaxed, packing local hospitals that have been forced to expand their emergency departments. 

The majority of those infected, however, have none to mild symptoms while the growing number of patients who were either in critical condition or on ventilators were the elderly. The handful of new deaths reported each day were also mostly senior citizens, many of whom were not vaccinated. 

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This article, Unvaccinated Singaporeans banned from malls, dining at hawker centers from today, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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