SINGAPORE: All travellers entering Singapore from 11.59pm on Jun 17 will be tested for COVID-19 before the end of their stay-home notice, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Monday (Jun 15).
The test will be scheduled a few days before the end of the 14-day stay-home notice period, at an allotted testing facility, MOH said in a press release.
Each person under a stay-home notice will receive information on the scheduled appointment slot and venue via an SMS notification.
“It is an additional precautionary measure to detect the virus, especially given the risks of asymptomatic cases,” MOH said.
“We will monitor the results of these tests and may make adjustments to the testing requirements over time.”
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These individuals will have to travel from their place of residence to the designated testing facility, and return back immediately after the test, using their own private vehicle or designated transport, and avoid public transport.
SOME ALLOWED TO SERVE STAY-HOME NOTICE AT HOME
Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders entering Singapore from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, mainland China, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam and who stayed in these countries and territories in the last consecutive 14 days prior to their entry will be allowed to serve their stay-home notice at home under the new norms, MOH said.
Previously, they had to stay at dedicated facilities.
All those who can serve their stay-home notice at home must remain in their place of residence at all times, MOH said, adding that their whereabouts will be closely watched, through electronic monitoring as well as physical spot-checks.
However, travellers entering Singapore from countries not in the list will still need to serve their 14-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities, regardless of whether they are residents or visitors.
PAY FOR TESTS AND STAY AT STAY-HOME FACILITY
All inbound and outbound travellers who enter or leave Singapore from 11.59pm on Jun 17 will also be required to pay for their COVID-19 tests, and those who are not Singaporeans or PRs entering the country will need to foot their own bill for their stay at dedicated facilities.
Previously, the Singapore Government paid for the costs of stay at stay-home notice facilities for travellers entering Singapore, except for those who left Singapore from Mar 27 onwards.
It also bore the costs of the large majority of COVID-19 tests, MOH said.
"As we expand (and) reopen for more travel, we want to move to a more sustainable position," said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong at a press conference on Monday.
According to MOH, a COVID-19 test for a person under stay-home notice costs up to S$200, while a 14-day stay at a dedicated facility costs S$2,000.
APPROVAL TO ENTER SINGAPORE
All long-term pass holders will still need prior approval before coming back to Singapore.
MOH said the Government has “gradually increased” the number of entry approvals given to these pass holders, “especially those with deep roots to Singapore or have exigent circumstances”.
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“We expect to be able to facilitate the re-entry of more Long Term Pass holders in the coming weeks,” MOH said.
“We will also study how to facilitate business travels, in particular for professionals based in Singapore who need to travel frequently as part of their work, with the necessary safeguards,” it added.
When asked about the timeline the Government is working under to allow these pass holders to return, Mr Wong said that he had no details.
But with the country now able to conduct more tests and house more returnees in facilities, the Government expects that more people will be allowed back.
"We know that there are some who have been waiting for some time to come back to be with their family members or to come back for whatever other reasons," Mr Wong, who also co-chairs the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force, said.
He did not explain what the criteria for approving applications to return are.