SINGAPORE - Singapore will start a phased easing of its COVID-19 restrictions from next week, including allowing up to five people to gather from two currently, after a fall in the number of new infections, the health ministry said.
The city-state had reimposed curbs on gatherings and public activities last month amid a rise in locally acquired infections and with new clusters forming.
Larger gatherings will be allowed from Monday, while restaurants will be able to resume dine-in services from June 21 if infections remain under control, the ministry said.
The city-state will also from Friday extend its vaccination drive to include citizens aged 39 years old and under and those who have previously recovered from COVID-19.
The easing of measures will be accompanied by regular mandatory COVID-19 testing for staff working at settings with unmasked clients such as gyms and restaurants in coming months, the ministry said.
Singapore regulators had also approved four coronavirus self-testing kits for sale to the public, it said.
As of Wednesday, around 2.5 million or 44% of the Singapore population had received at least the first dose of a vaccine, of which about 1.9 million had received two doses to be fully vaccinated.
Singapore authorities expect 50% of its population will be vaccinated by August.
The Straits Times Index share index rose after the announcement, with aviation ground-handling firm SATS Ltd and Singapore Airlines each up more than 2%.
Singapore reported four new locally-transmitted coronavirus cases on Thursday.
(Reporting by Chen Lin in Singapore Editing by Ed Davies) ((LinChen1@thomsonreuters.com;))