Singapore rightens coronavirus rules after finding Indian 'double mutant' strainWorld | 4 May 2021 10:50 pm
Singapore announced on Tuesday tighter restrictions on social gatherings and stricter border measures after recording locally acquired cases of coronavirus variants, including a more contagious strain first detected in India.
The “double mutant” coronavirus variant first detected in India has been found among locally infected people.
The B.1.617 variant is widely blamed for India’s second wave of infections that has led to infections surging above 20 million. The World Health Organization classified it as a variant of interest last week.
As of Monday, Singapore has detected 10 local infections of the variant from India.
Seven of these infections are in three clusters, the multi-ministry taskforce for coronavirus diseas said in a press release.
The stricter measures, which will be effective from May 8, include extending checks on where incoming travellers have been to three weeks earlier, instead of two weeks currently.
All visitors with a recent travel history in higher risk countries and who arrive from Saturday onwards will also need to be in quarantine for 21 days, instead of 14.
Social gatherings will also be limited to five people, while indoor gyms and fitness studios will be shut.
The new measures amount to the tightest local restrictions since Singapore started easing curbs in the middle of last year after a partial lockdown.
Among infections detected in the latest cluster in a hospital, nine out of 40 people had already been fully vaccinated.
"Because of vaccination, these cases are either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, and none has required oxygen so far," said health minister Gan Kim Yong. "Therefore vaccination remains an important tool to help lower the risk of infection and severe disease," he said.
He also said authorities could not rule out a return to a partial lockdown again, if the situation worsened.-Reuters/CNBC. Photo: CNA