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Singapore reduces capacity limits after COVID spike

Singapore has tightened capacity restrictions at live shows after a spike in COVID-19 cases.

From Saturday, just 250 people are now allowed to attend live performances with pre-event testing, which is down from the previous figure of 750. Live performances that do not offer pre-event testing will be allowed a maximum of just 100 people in the audience – down from 250.

Last week’s announcement by the country’s Multi-Ministry Task Force (MTF) rolls back changes unveiled in March. The changes, which will be in place until May 30, come after more than 60 cases were identified in the previous week.

“We certainly hope not to have to invoke another circuit breaker,” MTF co-chair Lawrence Wong told reporters. “But we have proposed quite a stringent and tight set of measures, so that we can respond robustly and pre-emptively to the latest outbreak of clusters and do our best to snuff them out early, and reduce the likelihood of having to impose more drastic measures down the road.”

Live performances returned in Singapore in September 2020 with an audience cap of 50, and this limit was gradually raised in the following months.

Meawhile, in Japan a virus state of emergency in Tokyo and other parts of the country was extended on Friday, less than three months before the Olympics, with restrictions also imposed in more regions as cases surge.

The emergency measures, less strict than blanket lockdowns in other countries, had been due to end on May 11 but will now continue until the end of the month, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said.

The decision means that a scheduled visit by Olympics chief Thomas Bach this month has now been postponed. An athletics test event involving more than 400 competitors took place behind closed doors at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium over the weekend.

Sports fans are barred from stadiums under the emergency rules, but up to 5,000 spectators will soon be allowed, or 50 per cent of the venue’s capacity, local media reports.

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