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Returning citizens, PRs to be required to test negative for Covid-19 before departure for Singapore: MOH

SINGAPORE — All Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) returning to the country will have to present a valid negative Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken within 72 hours before their departure, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Wednesday (May 26).

Returning citizens, PRs to be required to test negative for Covid-19 before departure for Singapore: MOH

All Singapore citizens and permanent residents will only be allowed to board their transport into Singapore if they have a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure.

SINGAPORE — All Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) returning to the country will have to present a valid negative Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken within 72 hours before their departure, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Wednesday (May 26). 

They will also have to present their test result at the air, sea and land checkpoints upon arriving in Singapore.

The exception is for those who had stayed in lower-risk areas for the last 21 days. Lower-risk areas include Australia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Macau and New Zealand.

The new requirement, which applies to all travellers entering or transiting through Singapore, will take effect from 11.59pm on Saturday (May 29), in order to manage the risk of imported cases and community transmission, the ministry added in an update on its pre-departure testing requirements.

PRs and long-term pass holders who fail to comply may have their permit or pass cancelled, and travellers who arrive in Singapore without a valid negative test result may be denied entry.

The new requirement is due to new and potentially more infectious variants emerging around the globe in recent weeks, MOH said.

Only long-term pass holders and short-term visitors entering Singapore have had to complete a pre-departure Covid-19 test since November last year while Singaporeans and PRs had to take a test on arrival. 

MOH said that it did not previously make the pre-departure test a requirement for Singaporeans and PRs because “we did not want to make it difficult for them to “return home quickly, should they be caught unprepared by the rapidly deteriorating pandemic conditions abroad”.

“We have put in place advisories on overseas travel for some time now, and Singaporeans and PRs abroad would have had more time to manage the risks of Covid-19 in the countries that they are in.” 

The ministry added that cargo drivers and accompanying personnel transporting goods between Singapore and Malaysia will be exempt from the new requirement.

Instead, they will continue to take antigen rapid tests on arrival at the Tuas and Woodlands immigration checkpoints. 

MOH cautioned that travellers who test positive for Covid-19 should ensure that they have fully recovered and are non-infectious before arriving in Singapore.

Singaporeans who test positive while overseas and require urgent medical care in Singapore, however, can still return on a medical evacuation flight or other similar forms of transportation.

Any changes to border measures will be posted on the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority’s SafeTravel website

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