SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore will allow small gatherings and the reopening of restaurants and shops from June 19, its health ministry said on Monday, in a major easing of the city-state’s coronavirus restrictions.
Social gatherings of up to five people will be permitted from Friday, when the majority of activities resume after more than two months of restrictions, dubbed “circuit breaker” measures. Social distancing requirements will remain in place.
Tiny Singapore has one of the highest infection tallies in Asia, with more than 40,000 cases, because of mass outbreaks in dormitories for its migrant workers. Singapore reopened schools and some businesses earlier this month.
The government said on Monday incidence of cases in migrant worker dormitories had declined and there were no new large clusters emerging.
Cases outside the dormitories also remained stable despite the increase in workplace activities.
“By limiting close contact among individuals while maintaining hygiene and safe management principles, we will be able to resume more activities without substantially raising the risk of new clusters of infections,” the health ministry said.
As countries reopen their economies, concerns are growing globally over a fresh wave of cases.
“We are fully cognisant of the fact that we may have new cases emerging as the community returns to many of the routines that they were accustomed to before the implementation of the circuit breaker measures,” the ministry’s director of medical services, Kenneth Mak, told a media briefing.
Malls, gyms, parks and beaches are on the list to reopen, but religious congregations, bars, theatres and large-scale events will not yet be allowed to resume activities.
The government also said working from home must remain the default for all businesses where feasible.
Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Martin Petty