Updated travel measures for those travelling from Hong Kong
Travellers to Singapore who have been in Hong Kong in the 14 days prior must serve a 14-day stay home notice at dedicated facilities. The new measure applies immediately.
In addition, from 11.59 p.m. on 18 December, all travellers entering Singapore with a travel history to Hong Kong in the past 14 days are required to take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours before their departure. Tests must be negative in order to enter Singapore.
Singaporeans and PRs are exempt from the PCR tests.
COVID-19 tests offered to hostel residents at NUS, NTU, SMU, SUTD
The Singapore government is expanding its efforts to expand COVID-19 testing regime to selected community groups and is offering coronavirus tests for residents at all hostels in the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU), and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
Tests are funded by the Government and details will be disseminated to residents by their universities in the weeks to come. There are no plans yet to extend testing to all staff and students.
MUIS Confirms COVID-19 Vaccine is Permissible for Muslim Use
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) has confirmed that it “holds the position that a COVID-19 vaccine permissible for Muslim use”.
The council is encouraging Muslims to be vaccinated once it is available and medically authorised as safe and effective, “as this is a basic necessity to protect lives in the context of a global pandemic”.
MUIS has also said that the religious view of the vaccine “must take a more holistic stance that transcends the narrow issue of halalness or permissibility of its ingredients”.
Further details on how the religious council came to this conclusion can be found here.
WHO to Make Decisions on Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccines
The World Health Organization will be deciding on the emergency use approval of the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, its chief scientist said on 11 December.
The approval could allow a vaccine to be deployed in some countries where national medical regulators have not yet been able to evaluate it. WHO officials have said that it would take a long time before vaccines could be rolled out worldwide.
Germany to Go into National Lockdown over Christmas
Germany will go into “hard” national lockdown starting next week, continuing through the Christmas period, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The stricter measures come after a surge of COVID-19 cases and reported record daily deaths on Friday, with 598 fatalities.
From next Wednesday, all non-essential shops, services and schools will close until 10 January. Christmas Day gatherings will be limited to only five people from a maximum of two households.
Christmas church services will also be subject to prior registration with no singing allowed, alcohol is to be banned from all public spaces, and the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display will be cancelled.
First Round of US Vaccinations Have Begun
The first three million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech were received over the weekend and vaccinations start this week.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised the emergency use of the vaccine last Friday, which had come under pressure from the Trump administration to do so.
US health authorities are expected to prioritise health workers and care home residents first. Americans outside the highest-priority groups are likely to be able to get the vaccine in January, with general availability expected by April.
Pfizer has agreed to supply the US with 100 million doses of the vaccine by March. Moderna will provide an additional 200 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine by June, but this vaccine is still seeking approval in the US.