Returning Singaporeans, PRs will need to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before departure

Returning Singaporeans, PRs will need to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before departure

Changi Airport COVID-19 segregated zone (10)
A security staff member working in Zone 1 wearing full personal protective equipment at Changi Airport, May 24, 2021. (Photo: Gwyneth Teo)

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans and permanent residents will soon be required to present a valid negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken within 72 hours before they depart for Singapore, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (May 26).

From 11.59pm on May 29, all Singaporeans and permanent residents, except those who have stayed in lower-risk countries and regions in the last 21 days before departure to Singapore, will have to present the negative test result. Only then will they be allowed to board their flight or ferry to Singapore, said MOH.

The lower-risk countries and regions are Australia, Brunei, mainland China, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Macau. 

"All travellers will also be required to present their valid COVID-19 PCR test result at the air, sea and land checkpoints when they arrive in Singapore," said MOH.

Those who arrive in Singapore without a valid negative test result may be denied entry, it added. Permanent residents and long-term pass holders who fail to comply may also have their permit or pass cancelled.

Cargo drivers and other accompanying people transporting goods between Singapore and Malaysia will continue to be subjected to an on-arrival antigen rapid test at the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints. They will only be allowed to enter Singapore if they receive a negative test result. They will not be required to take a pre-departure PCR test, said MOH.

READ: 23 new COVID-19 community cases in Singapore, including students and pastor linked to Jem/Westgate cluster

Since November last year, Singapore has required all long-term pass holders and short-term pass visitors entering Singapore to present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before their departure to Singapore.

"We had not made this a requirement for Singapore citizens and permanent residents at that time, as 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," said MOH.

Currently, Singaporeans and permanent residents will take an on-arrival PCR test before they are put in a dedicated stay-home notice facility.

The Health Ministry said it has put in place advisories on overseas travel for "some time now", and that Singaporeans and permanent residents abroad "would have had more time to manage the risks of COVID-19 in the countries that they are in".

Travellers from lower-risk countries and regions are either required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival in lieu of a stay-home notice, or serve a seven-day stay-home notice at their place of residence with a COVID-19 test administered at the end of the notice.

SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT BEFORE TRAVELLING

Travellers who test positive on their COVID-19 PCR test should seek appropriate medical care and ensure that they have fully recovered and are non-infectious before travelling to Singapore, said MOH. 

READ: Changi Airport to segregate workers based on COVID-19 exposure risk

READ: Students in COVID-19 quarantine facilities are allowed to have caregivers: MOH

"Singaporeans who test positive for COVID-19 while overseas and require urgent medical care in Singapore can still return to Singapore via a medevac flight or other equivalent forms of conveyance," the Health Ministry said.

It added that the multi-ministry task force has been closely monitoring the global COVID-19 situation and regularly reviews border measures.

"In recent weeks, the global situation has worsened, and we have observed the emergence of new and potentially more infectious variants," said MOH.

"To manage the risk of imported cases and onward transmission within our community, we will be updating our pre-departure testing requirements." 

Singapore reported 26 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Wednesday, including 23 in the community, one in a dormitory and two imported infections.

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Source: CNA/ga

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