(Bloomberg) -- Singapore will step up its vaccination program as it further eases its Covid-related curbs, lifting restrictions on non-vaccinated individuals in restaurants and other venues.

The Ministry of Health said it will fully lift its vaccine-differentiated safe management measures, effective Oct. 10. That means the restrictions will no longer be applied in eateries, nightlife establishments and at large events with more than 500 attendees.

Singapore’s steady removal of its Covid curbs has helped solidify its role as a major Asian financial center, capitalizing on Hong Kong’s relative slowness to reopen. In a sign of the relative appeal of the two cities, Singapore’s population rose 3.4% in June from a year earlier, while Hong Kong’s shrank 1.6%.

Singapore’s health ministry also said it will step up its vaccination program. It will vaccinate children aged six months to four years, with those aged five to 11 being given booster shots. It’s also rolling out bivalent vaccines as boosters for those aged 50 and older, or for persons yet to achieve minimum vaccination protection.

The loosening of curbs come even as Covid cases rise, with average daily infections in the community over a seven-day period rising to 4,400 as of Oct. 6, from about 2,600 a week earlier, according to the health ministry. Hospitalized cases have also increased to 342 from 247, while the number of Intensive Care Unit cases rose to 13 from 9 over the same period. 

The higher case counts were “not unexpected, as we open up our society and economy,” the ministry said, attributing the rise to increased social activities and the prevalence of more-contagious omicron subvariants. 

“So far, there is no evidence that the subvariants result in more severe illness,” it said. “Vaccination remains our primary line of defense as we forge ahead and learn to live with Covid-19,” the ministry added.

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