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Dow Jones Newswires: Singapore moves to relax pandemic restrictions

Singapore next week will begin relaxing most of its COVID-19 restrictions, including by easing border controls, with the virus largely under control in the Southeast Asian nation.

Beginning March 29, the city-state will allow up to 75% of employees who can work from home to return to offices, as well as double the permissible size of groups to 10 people, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Thursday.

Cross-border travel will be eased “substantially,” with officials lifting most restrictions for fully vaccinated visitors to the country, Lee said. The use of masks will now be optional outdoors while remaining mandatory indoors.

“Our fight against COVID-19 has reached a major turning point,” Lee said. “We are not quite yet at the finish line, though we are getting closer.”

Lee added that the Omicron wave has crested in Singapore and is now subsiding, but the country is stopping short of a full end to COVID measures to allow conditions to further stabilize. He noted some countries that declared the pandemic finished “are anxiously watching their infection and mortality numbers rising rapidly again.”

The relaxation comes two years after the regional financial hub introduced mobility and gathering curbs to address the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According the country’s health ministry, 93% of the total population in Singapore has received at least one vaccination dose, while 71% of the total population has received booster shots.

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