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Singapore to extend stay-home notice to 21 days for travellers from higher-risk places

Singapore to extend stay-home notice to 21 days for travellers from higher-risk places

People wearing face masks are seen at Singapore Changi Airport on Nov 2, 2020. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

SINGAPORE: Travellers with recent travel history to higher risk countries and regions will have to serve a 21-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities from May 8.

Those currently serving their stay-home notice and have yet to complete it before this date will have to serve another seven days at their stay-home notice location.

Higher risk countries and regions refer to all places except Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Mainland China, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

Speaking at a press conference by the multi-ministry task force on Tuesday (May 4), co-chair Lawrence Wong said the global COVID-19 situation has “worsened”, with new variants and new cases spreading from South Asia to Southeast Asia.

“We are adopting this more stringent border measure up until the end of May, beyond at that time we will do a further review depending on the global situation and the local situation, and we will continue to update and fine-tune our border measures.”

READ: Cap of 5 people for social gatherings, household visits to return as Singapore tightens COVID-19 measures

READ: 5 COVID-19 cases in Tan Tock Seng Hospital cluster have Indian variant of coronavirus

In addition, border measures for incoming travellers will, from May 8, be determined according to their recent travel history in the past 21 days to countries or regions, up from the current 14-day travel history period.

This comes after the Singapore government on Friday barred short-term visitors and long-term pass holders with recent travel history from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. 

READ: Possibility of circuit breaker ‘not ruled out’ as COVID-19 taskforce announces tighter measures

READ: Singapore to bar visitors from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka

TRAVELLERS FROM FIJI AND VIETNAM

In addition from May 8, travellers who have stayed in Fiji and Vietnam in the past consecutive 21 days before arriving in Singapore will have to serve a 21-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities. They may serve the last seven days at their place of residence. 

Those who have been to these two places and have yet to complete their 14-day stay-home notice by May 8 can complete their remaining stay-home notice at their current stay-home notice location. They may also request to serve their additional seven days at their place of residence.

Meanwhile, travellers from the United Kingdom, South Africa, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka who are currently required to serve their 21-day stay-home notice will have to serve the full duration at a dedicated facility. 

READ: Mandatory TraceTogether-only SafeEntry brought forward to May 17

Those yet to complete their stay-home notice before May 8 will have to serve their stay-home notice at their current location to minimise movement and risk of transmission.

Travellers serving their 21-day stay-home notice will undergo COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests on-arrival, on the 14th day of their stay-home notice, and before the end of their 21-day period.

"RISK-BASED APPROACH" TO MANAGING BORDERS

Singapore cannot rely "solely" on border measures to control the spread of COVID-19, said Mr Wong, who is also Education Minister. 

"Unlike some large or resource-rich countries that can more or less shut their borders for a long time, Singapore cannot afford to do so, certainly not for a prolonged duration of time."

Instead, he said that Singapore has always taken a "risk-based approach" to managing its borders, by controlling inflow of arrivals, requiring incoming travellers to serve stay-home notices and vaccinating officers working at borders and checkpoints.

Mr Wong added that "leaks" into the community could happen, even with these tightened measures.

"The point is, we continue to keep our border measures as tight as possible, but we cannot rely solely on border controls. We have to make use of other tools at our disposal: Testing, tracing, safe management measures and now vaccination.

"If we do all of this well, then we can control the spread of the infection in our community."

READ: 5 more COVID-19 cases linked to TTSH cluster, 12 new imported infections

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Source: CNA/cc(ta)

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