Singapore Says Its Residents Are 80 Percent Fully Vaccinated, Signaling Gradual Reopening

Singapore announced on Sunday that 80 percent of its population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung wrote in a Facebook post that Singapore, whose population is about 5.69 million, has "crossed another milestone."

See posts, photos and more on Facebook.

"It means Singapore has taken another step forward in making ourselves more resilient to COVID-19. It is the result of the collective effort of many people working behind the scenes, and the people of Singapore coming forward to take care of themselves and the people around them," Kung said.

The health minister noted that over 4,300 individuals received their COVID vaccines as per the state's home vaccination efforts.

Singapore plans to complete all home vaccinations by the end of September, according to Kung.

"Every week, we continue to receive about 700 requests for home vaccinations. To meet the demand, and thanks to over 200 volunteer doctors and nurses, and also the assistance of SAF, we are tripling the number of home vaccination teams from 11 to 33 teams," Kung said. "As a result, we are now able to halve the waiting time from eight weeks to four weeks."

Officials in Singapore are hoping to use the high rate of vaccinations as a reason to gradually reopen the island nation.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in an August 19 statement that the city-state will take further steps to reopen borders "in a cautious and step-by-step manner," as vaccination rates spike.

Starting September 8, Singapore will allow fully vaccinated travelers from Germany and Brunei to enter the city-state without being required to quarantine, according to the CAAS.

Through a new Vaccinated Travel Lane arrangement, travelers will undergo multiple PCR tests for COVID before their departure and upon their arrival.

This month, Singapore allowed 50 percent of workers to go back to offices, according to Bloomberg, and for fully vaccinated people to dine in restaurants.

Malls and cinemas are allowed to increase capacity, and temperature checks are no longer required in public places.

The Health Ministry released a statement on Sunday about its latest COVID-19 data, saying that 9.2 percent of unvaccinated people became either severely ill or died of COVID over the last 28 days.

According to Bloomberg, Singapore is expected to start providing COVID vaccines to children under the age of 12 by early next year. It is currently looking into rolling out booster shots for some fully vaccinated people.

In May, Singapore's health ministry denied a claim from India that a deadly new COVID-19 variant has been detected in the city-state, saying that there is "no truth whatsoever" to it.

Delhi's chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, called for a pause on flights from Singapore to India, claiming that the new strain is "extremely dangerous for children." Kejriwal added that the new variant could result in a third major coronavirus outbreak, at a time when India is already struggling to contain infections.

Newsweek contacted the health ministry in Singapore for comments about reopening plans and COVID cases, but didn't receive an immediate response.

Singapore vaccination rates
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung wrote in a Facebook post that Singapore is becoming resilient to COVID as vaccination rates spike. Above, a resident makes offerings to deceased relatives by burning incense papers outside a temporary swab centre set up at the void deck area on the ground floor of a public housing block, after a few positive Covid-19 coronavirus cases were detected in the building, in Singapore on May 21. Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images