SINGAPORE: Singapore is tightening its border restriction measures even as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to worsen around the world, with stay-home notices a key tool wielded by authorities to contain the coronavirus.
The COVID-19 multi-ministry task force said on Wednesday (Mar 18) that from Mar 20, 11.59pm, all Singaporeans, permanent residents, long-term pass holders and short-term visitors returning from overseas will be issued a 14-day stay-home notice.
Short-term visitors with recent travel history to mainland China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Spain will still not be allowed to enter or transit in Singapore, as previously directed.
Short-term visitors allowed entry will have to provide proof of the place where they will serve the stay-home notice, for example, a hotel booking covering the entire period or a place of residence that they or their family members own.
READ: New stay-home notice with stricter measures for Singapore residents, long-term pass holders returning from mainland China
This latest directive came just days after the task force said stay-home notices will be issued to all travellers entering Singapore with recent travel to Southeast Asian countries, Japan, Switzerland or the United Kingdom within the last 14 days.
These notices have been imposed on those with travel history to mainland China (excluding Hubei province), France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea and Spain previously.
Since then, CNA has received many queries from the public on the new measures. We put together these answers from the Ministry of Health to answer your frequently asked questions:
Question: Who will be issued a stay-home notice?
Answer: From Mar 20, 11.59pm, all Singaporeans, permanent residents, long-term pass holders and short-term visitors (except those with recent travel history to mainland China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Spain) who enter Singapore will be issued a 14-day stay-home notice.
Short-term visitors will have to provide proof of the place they will stay in to serve this notice, such as hotels or a family member’s home.
Singapore residents and long-term pass holders entering from China's Hubei province will continue to be issued a 14-day quarantine order.
Q: What will I need to do to comply with the stay-home notice?
A: A person issued with a stay-home notice is to stay home at all times during the 14-day period. Authorities will check on them using text messages, GPS location via their mobile phones, random phone calls and house visits.
READ: More than 7,000 stay-home notices issued for COVID-19; checks done through GPS, photos, says ICA
Those who receive a phone call are also to take photos of their surroundings to verify their whereabouts, according to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
You will also need to monitor your health closely, with temperature checks twice daily and for respiratory symptoms like cough and breathlessness.
Q: I’m living with someone issued with a stay-home notice. What must I do?
A: You can still live in the same room with the person issued a stay-home notice, but you’re encouraged to reduce interaction and minimise contact with them.
For example, avoid sharing a bed, limit the time spent together at common areas within the apartment, have separate meal times and ensure the room is properly ventilated.
You are also to avoid sharing the same toilet, if possible. If it is not practical, avoid using the toilet at the same time and clean toilet surfaces more frequently. Do not share towels, but sharing of toilet paper is safe so long as it’s not stained, soiled or wet.
Maintain good personal hygiene at all times.
Q: Will I be able to leave my home to go on food/grocery runs if I’m on stay-home notice?
A: No. You may turn to home delivery services, or enlist the help of others for your daily necessities.
For those delivering food or supplies, there is no need for masks or other protective equipment. These can be delivered in ways that minimise contact with the person under the stay-home notice.
The notice is a precautionary measure and persons under the directive are not close contacts of confirmed cases.
Q: Must I see a doctor to be certified well after my 14-day stay-home notice is served?
A: No. It is not useful to send the person who does not have symptoms to the doctor or a hospital for testing. They will not be offered diagnostic testing and will be asked to return home.
Q: What if I don’t comply with the stay-home notice?
A: You may face the following penalties if you fail to comply with the notice:
- Be prosecuted under Section 21A of the Infectious Diseases Act. First-time offenders are liable for a fine of up to S$10,000, jail of up to six months, or both. Repeat offenders face double the penalties.
- For a Singapore permanent resident, Long-Term Visit Pass holder, Dependant’s Pass holder, or Student’s Pass holder, the re-entry permit or pass may be revoked
- For a foreign employee issued a work pass, this pass may be revoked
- If the person is a full-time student, he or she may be subjected to disciplinary action - including suspension or dismissal. Foreign students may see the cancellation of their Student’s Pass or Dependant’s Pass.
The authorities have not shied away from enforcing the penalties so far. A 45-year-old man lost his PR status after breaching his stay-home notice and will be barred from re-entering Singapore, according to a February report.
Q: Can I still carry on with my daily activities (e.g. work, school) if my family members/ flatmates/ tenants have just returned from one of the affected areas?
A: Yes, the stay-home notice applies only to persons returning from affected areas listed in the advisory. But do continue to monitor your health.
Q: Do I need to declare to my employers/schools that I am on stay-home notice?
A: You are advised to inform your employers or schools that you are on the stay-home notice if you have returned from affected areas.
This will allow your employer or school to provide the necessary assistance to facilitate the order.