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COVID-19 measures eased for travellers from Hong Kong, UK, South Africa and vaccinated people in official delegations: MOH

COVID-19 measures eased for travellers from Hong Kong, UK, South Africa and vaccinated people in official delegations: MOH

Visitors walk through Changi Airport Terminal 1 in Singapore on Dec 7, 2020. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Singapore will ease COVID-19 border measures for travellers arriving from Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and South Africa after taking into account the current outbreak situation in these places.

To facilitate "critical and essential" official travel, a stringent testing and self-isolation regime will also be introduced for fully vaccinated people in official delegations travelling to higher-risk destinations, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

These were part of updates to Singapore's border measures announced on Tuesday (Apr 20), which also included a tightening of restrictions for travellers from India given the "worsening situation" there.

READ: Singapore tightens COVID-19 rules for travellers from India, eases measures for those travelling from Hong Kong

HONG KONG: REDUCED STAY-HOME NOTICE

With effect from 11.59pm on Thursday, travellers from Hong Kong can serve a seven-day stay-home notice at their place of residence "if suitable", said MOH.

This is due to the "improved situation" in the city, said the ministry.

The travellers must have remained in Hong Kong for 14 days prior to arriving in Singapore.

Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders may serve the stay-home notice at their home if they or their family members own or are sole tenants of the residence.

They can also serve the notice in "suitable accommodations such as a hotel", said MOH.

The travellers must take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival, and another PCR test before the end of the stay-home notice.

Previously, travellers from Hong Kong were required to serve a 14-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities.

The measures were tightened in December last year over a "deteriorating outbreak situation", with Hong Kong reporting more than 100 daily COVID-19 cases on consecutive days.

The city reported eight COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, including four local cases.

UK, SOUTH AFRICA: ENTRY AND TRANSIT PERMITTED

Long-term pass holders and short-term visitors who have travelled to the UK and South Africa in the last 14 days will soon be allowed to enter Singapore.

Those with recent travel history to the UK and South Africa who wish to transit through Singapore can also do so on airlines approved to operate such transfers.

These changes will take effect from 11.59pm on Thursday.

Singapore barred entry and transit by travellers from the UK in December 2020, and from South Africa in January, over concerns of more contagious variants of the coronavirus circulating in these countries.

READ: New COVID-19 variants: Do the UK and South Africa virus strains pose a danger to Singapore?

"Our existing border control and domestic measures have been able to contain the risks of community spread from imported cases with such variants, which is now present in many countries beyond UK and South Africa," said MOH on Tuesday.

All travellers arriving from the UK and South Africa, including Singaporeans and permanent residents, are still required to serve a 14-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities followed by a seven-day stay-home notice at their residence.

MOH said it will continue to evaluate the data on the various strains of the coronavirus as these emerge, and review the border measures accordingly.

OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY FULLY VACCINATED PEOPLE

Singapore will allow fully vaccinated people who travel to higher-risk destinations as part of an official delegation to be subject to a stringent testing and self-isolation regime with effect from 11.59pm on Thursday.

This is for "critical and essential official travel" made at the request of the Government to represent Singapore in an official capacity in important meetings, functions or international fora overseas, said MOH.

"In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, essential business and official travels still need to continue. While many meetings have been conducted over digital media, certain critical discussions need to be done face-to-face.

"Official interactions are also crucial to safeguarding and advancing Singapore's national interests," said the ministry.

Such travellers must adhere to a "strict event-by-event controlled itinerary" while overseas.

They will undergo PCR tests on arrival in Singapore, and on day three, day seven and day 14 of their return. This is similar to the testing requirements for travellers on the business travel pass scheme, noted MOH.

These travellers will also be required to undergo a seven-day self-isolation period at home or in a hotel upon returning.

"They may only leave their place of accommodation to commute to the PCR test site or to the workplace for essential work that cannot be done remotely," said MOH.

Travellers in official delegations will be informed by government agencies of their eligibility for such travel arrangements.

Those who are not fully vaccinated will be subject to prevailing border measures upon their return.

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Source: CNA/dv(rw)

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