Singapore said they will not cover Covid-19 medical bills from those “unvaccinated by choice” as the country struggles with a surge in cases.
Currently, the government covers the full costs of Covid medical bills for all residents, as well as long-term visa holders, unless they test positive soon after returning home from overseas. However, people who choose not to be vaccinated will start paying for these costs out of pocket after December 8th.
Experts say unvaccinated people still “make up a sizeable majority of those who require intensive in-patient care and disproportionately contribute to the strain on our healthcare resources”.
Covid-related medical bills will still be paid for people who aren’t eligible for a vaccine. The government will also pay for any partially vaccinated person until December 31st, which gives them time to get a second dosage of the vaccine.
Singapore has one of the highest vaccination rates in world with an 85% coverage rate. However, the city-state is still struggling to prevent Covid infections and last month it warned that the healthcare system was at risk of being overwhelmed by surging cases. It came a day after the country expanded quarantine-free travel as part of a shift in its approach to dealing with the pandemic.
Prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, previously said the global business hub could not remain closed indefinitely, and Singapore has moved from a zero-tolerance strategy with lockdowns and closed borders to living with Covid-19.
After the relaxation of some restrictions, there was a spike in infections. This prompted the island to pause further reopening in late October. Social curbs were extended for around a month in order to contain the spread of Covid and to ease pressure on the healthcare system.