People walk past the Merlion statue in Singapore on March 24, 2022. ( AFP / Roslan Rahman)

Posts falsely share Singapore's 2021 pandemic restrictions as 'new for 2022'

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

An image has been shared repeatedly on Facebook by Singaporean users alongside a claim that new social distancing measures will be introduced in the Southeast Asian city-state in August 2022. This is false: the image was originally published on the Singaporean government's social media accounts in 2021. Not all the measures described in the infographic are currently in effect, according to the latest government guidelines.

The infographic was shared on Facebook here on July 19, 2022.

The infographic reads: "Differentiated Measures for Higher-Risk Settings”, dictating the rules for two groups of people -- the fully vaccinated and the unvaccinated -- "From 10 Aug".

The post’s caption states: "10-08-22" -- referring to August 10, 2022.

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post taken on July 20, 2022

Singapore gradually relaxed its virus curbs in early 2022, as reported here and here.

People in Singapore were no longer required to wear masks outside, and limits on group sizes were raised to 10 in March 2022, up from five previously -- and later in April 2022, there were no limits imposed.

Singapore has been experiencing a rise in Covid cases -- the Ministry of Health had warned previously in late June 2022 that the increase was driven largely by the Omicron sub-variants.

On July 5, 2022, the Singaporean health minister, Ong Ye Kung, told parliament that the government would not rule out enforcing "more stringent" pandemic restrictions in the future, but it would seek to "avoid them".

The same image was also shared here, here, and here on Facebook alongside a similar claim.

The claim, however, is false.

A keyword search on the same topic found the infographic was published on Gov.sg, the official Facebook page of the Singaporean government, on August 10, 2021.

The post’s caption states: "From 10 Aug 2021, vaccination-differentiated measures will be introduced for higher-risk settings.

"Fully vaccinated individuals will be able to participate in more activities, including dining-in at F&B outlets, as well as indoor mask-off sports activities.️

"*Correction: Children 12 and under may be included within the group of 5 persons at F&B outlets if they are from the same household."

The same infographic was also shared on the Singaporean government's official Twitter account here on August 10, 2021.

In response to the misleading posts, the Singaporean government said that an old infographic was being recirculated with a false claim.

"An edited version of a Gov.sg infographic is currently circulating online. It claims that vaccinated differentiated measures will come into effect on 10 Aug 2022," reads a post published on the Gov.sg Facebook page on July 19, 2022.

"This is false and misleading, and we encourage the public not to share it.

"The infographic was in fact produced and disseminated last year, on 10 Aug 2021, as part of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce announcements on COVID-19 Safe Management Measures at that time."

A spokesperson for Singapore's Ministry of Communications and Information, which runs the Gov.sg Facebook page, separately told AFP: "We are aware of the misleading infographic, and it has been addressed here.

"The public is advised to refer to official government channels for verified and updated information."

The latest social distancing measures were posted on the Singaporean government's and the Ministry of Health's Facebook pages on April 22, 2022.

COVID-19