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S’poreans advised to defer all travel abroad; all travellers arriving in Singapore to be issued 14-day stay-home notice

SINGAPORE — The Government on Wednesday (March 18) advised Singaporeans to defer all travel abroad with immediate effect, superseding an earlier travel advisory announced just three days ago to defer all non-essential travel abroad.

SINGAPORE — The Government on Wednesday (March 18) advised Singaporeans to defer all travel abroad with immediate effect, superseding an earlier travel advisory announced just three days ago to defer all non-essential travel abroad.

The expansion of the advisory is to reduce the risk of Singaporeans being infected with the virus when they are overseas, and then spreading it to other Singaporeans when they return, the Health Ministry (MOH) said in a press release on Wednesday.

From 11.59pm on Friday, all Singaporeans, permanent residents, long-term pass holders and short-term visitors entering Singapore will also be issued with a 14-day stay-home notice.

Short-term visitors subjected to this notice have to provide proof of the place where they will be staying in for isolation.

The extra measures for all travellers entering the country is aimed at reducing the risk of further importation leading to community spread in Singapore, it added.

The latest expansion of travel restrictions come as Singapore confirmed 47 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday— the highest single-day jump by a wide margin.

Out of the new cases, 33 of them were imported, and 30 of them are Singapore residents who have returned from abroad, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said at a press briefing by the multi-ministry Covid-19 taskforce.

Over the past three days, almost 70 per cent of Singapore’s new Covid-19 cases were imported, most of whom were Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning here after they had travelled overseas.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who also co-chaired the briefing, said that the Government expects the number of imported cases to go up as more Singaporeans return home. 

“Like how we flew the chartered flight back from Wuhan, a number of Singaporeans on those flights were infected and that was one city (in China). Now we have many cities all over the world in Europe where it is circulating quite quickly,” he said. 

The recent imported cases are Singapore residents who came back one or two weeks ago, Mr Wong said. 

He also said that the Government has decided to get people here to defer all travel because many families are away despite the earlier travel advisory urging them to defer non-essential travel. 

“We urge everyone to reconsider any upcoming travel plans,” Mr Wong stressed. 

As for Singapore residents who are returning before the stay-home notice kicks in on Friday for inbound travellers, Mr Wong called on them to “do the responsible thing” and consider self-isolation at their own homes for a few days or, if possible, for 14 days.  

“If you have any symptoms, immediately go and see a doctor. It’s the responsible thing to do and the best way to protect loved ones and family members,” he added. 

Mr Wong also said that the Ministry of Education will announce new measures to complement this new travel restriction, whereby students who have travelled with their family overseas during this period will be asked to stay at home for 14 days, even if they return before the Friday deadline. 

EMPLOYERS TO GET APPROVAL FOR WORK PASS HOLDERS

As for new and existing work pass holders returning to Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement on Wednesday that those entering Singapore from 11.59pm this Friday will need to obtain MOM’s approval before they begin their journey back.

This applies to existing work pass holders and those who have received in-principle approval for their passes and have yet to enter Singapore.

Employers of these work pass holders must apply for the entry approval on MOM’s website.

They must declare to the ministry that they have arranged for suitable accommodation for these employees during the 14-day stay-home notice.

“Employers should inform their affected employees (including their dependants) not to make travel plans to Singapore until approval has been received from MOM,” the ministry said.

They will have to send MOM’s approval letter to the employees, who will need to show it to the airline crew upon check-in and at the border checkpoints when they arrive in Singapore.

SPREAD OF VIRUS GAINING PACE

MOH said that there has been a sharp increase in the number of Covid-19 cases globally, and the spread is gaining pace across the world.

To date, there are close to 200,000 confirmed cases across 159 countries, with more than 7,900 deaths.

“Many countries have seen an exponential rise in cases recently, and more than 40,000 new cases have been reported in the past three days.

“Globally the number of cases and deaths has surpassed those in China since the beginning of the outbreak,” MOH stated.

Previously announced measures to ban short-term visitors with recent travel history to mainland China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Spain from entering Singapore remain in effect.

Those who are on stay-home notices would have to remain in their place of residence at all times for 14 days after entering Singapore.

This new travel restriction will also apply to those entering Singapore via the land checkpoints from Malaysia, Mr Wong said.

“But for people like truck drivers or others who move between Singapore and Malaysia every day, separate arrangements will have to be worked out by both countries. It doesn’t make sense to put this group under stay-home notice,” Mr Wong said at the press briefing.

Malaysia’s nationwide lockdown, which began on Wednesday, has already imposed restrictions on the land crossings, the MOH statement read.

Measures to provide for the many drivers driving across the Causeway to deliver goods are being discussed through ongoing bilateral discussions, Mr Wong added.

“There is understanding that this type of to-ing and fro-ing reflects the interdependency of both countries and we need separate arrangements for that.”

Existing measures, such as requiring all inbound travellers who exhibit fever or other symptoms of respiratory illnesses to undergo a swab test at the checkpoints, would still apply.

Related topics

Covid-19 coronavirus MOH MOM travel

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