Stricter COVID-19 requirements for travellers from Sabah, Indonesia and Philippines; rules for Hong Kong eased

Stricter COVID-19 requirements for travellers from Sabah, Indonesia and Philippines; rules for Hong Kong eased

Changi Airport passengers check in (3)
Passengers arrive at Singapore Changi Airport on Jun 8, 2020. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: All travellers to Singapore with recent travel history to Sabah will soon be required to serve a 14-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities.

This is among several changes to Singapore's border measures and COVID-19 testing for travellers announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday (Oct 12).

Other changes affect travellers with recent travel history to Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Hong Kong.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will also lift visa suspension and resume the issuance of new visas, in line with the "calibrated reopening of Singapore's borders", MOH said.

STAY-HOME NOTICE FOR TRAVELLERS FROM SABAH

Under the changes announced on Monday, travellers with travel history to Sabah in the past 14 days will be required to serve a 14-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities.

The requirement applies to all travellers entering Singapore from 11.59pm on Oct 14.

The requirement also applies to returning Singapore-based travellers under the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL), as well as Malaysian citizens and permanent residents entering Singapore under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement, MOH said.

READ: FAQ: How can workers travel between Singapore and Malaysia and what are the COVID-19 protocols in place?

However, it does not apply to Malaysia-based travellers under the RGL, who will continue to be subject to existing RGL health measures of a pre-departure test, on-arrival test and pre-declared controlled itinerary, MOH said.

A COVID-19 test will continue to be administered before the end of the stay-home notice period, MOH said.

Previously, travellers from Malaysia were allowed to serve a seven-day stay-home notice at their place of residence.

The latest measure follows a recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Sabah, MOH said.

Sabah state has seen a large increase in infections over the past few weeks, reporting 488 new cases out of Malaysia's daily total of 561 new cases on Sunday.

"We are monitoring the situation across other states and federal territories closely, including Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya. For now, travellers from all other parts of Malaysia (except Sabah), will continue to serve a seven-day stay-home notice at their place of residence," the ministry said.

On Monday, the Malaysian government announced stricter rules for Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya, including restrictions on inter-district travel. All three will be put under a Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) for two weeks, starting on Oct 14.

PRE-DEPARTURE TESTS FOR TRAVELLERS FROM INDONESIA, PHILIPPINES

Travellers who are not Singapore citizens or permanent residents and who have recent travel history to Indonesia or the Philippines in the last 14 days before entry will now be required to take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours before departure, MOH said.

This requirement will take effect for people arriving in or transferring through Singapore from 11.59pm on Oct 19, MOH said.

READ: Singapore, Indonesia agree to launch green lane for essential business and official travel

Travellers will need to present a valid negative COVID-19 test result as a condition of approval to enter or transfer through Singapore, MOH said.

Those entering Singapore will still be required to serve a 14-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities and take a negative COVID-19 test before the end of their notice, MOH added.

Travellers from India who are transferring through Singapore will now also need to present a valid negative COVID-19 test result, MOH said.

Travellers seeking to enter Singapore who have travel history to India within the last 14 days and who are not Singapore citizens or permanent residents are already required to present a valid negative COVID-19 test result as a condition of approval.

READ: COVID-19: Singapore to lift border restrictions for some visitors from Australia, Vietnam

STAY-HOME NOTICE FOR TRAVELLERS FROM HONG KONG

Travellers from Hong Kong will now be allowed to serve a reduced seven-day stay-home notice at their place of residence.

The change will apply to travellers entering Singapore from 11.59pm on Oct 14, MOH said.

This follows Hong Kong's addition to a list of low-risk countries and regions for COVID-19, MOH said. Others on the list are Macau, mainland China, Malaysia (excluding Sabah) and Taiwan.

RESUMPTION OF VISA REGIME

ICA will lift visa suspension and resume the issuance of new visas in line with the calibrated reopening of Singapore's borders, MOH said on Monday.

From 11.59pm on Oct 18, short-term visitors who require a visa to enter Singapore can apply for visas through a local contact, Singapore overseas mission or authorised visa agent, MOH said.

Visitors who were already issued with visas that are still valid, as well as those who are eligible for the visa-free transit facility, do not need to apply or re-apply, the ministry said.

MOH added that the possession of a valid visa alone does not guarantee entry into Singapore. All short-term visitors must still seek prior approval via the appropriate COVID-19 travel channels before they can enter Singapore.

COVID-19 TESTING

To make COVID-19 testing more accessible for outbound travellers from Singapore, MOH will increase the number of clinics and providers who can administer the COVID-19 PCR tests for pre-departure testing, the ministry said.

There are currently more than 150 clinics providing pre-departure testing to eligible travellers, it added.

MOH added that it will also "gradually liberalise" COVID-19 testing to allow those who require a test more options to obtain such services from approved providers.

Laboratories, clinics and swab service providers who are interested to provide such COVID-19 testing services can apply to MOH for approval, the ministry said.

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Source: CNA/dv(ac)

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