No entry or transit through Singapore for short-term visitors

SINGAPORE (CNA) – Singapore will not allow short-term visitors to enter or transit through the country in view of the heightened risk of importation of COVID-19 cases, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday.

Previously, except for a handful of countries, short-term visitors were allowed to come into Singapore, although they will have to serve a 14-day stay-home notice once they entered the country.

The expanded restriction to all short-term visitors will take effect at 11.59pm today, MoH said in a press release.

At the same time, only work pass holders providing essential services, such as in healthcare and transport, will be allowed by the Manpower Ministry to enter or return to Singapore. This will include their dependents.

“In light of the rapidly escalating virus outbreak around the world, we have decided to significantly tighten our borders,” National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said at a media briefing yesterday.

“These are very significant moves, especially for a small open economy like Singapore that has always been connected to the world,” he said. “This is an unprecedented crisis so we have deliberated over this carefully.”

Wong, who co-chairs a multi-ministry task force tackling the outbreak here, said these new measures are needed to keep Singapore’s borders safe, as well as to limit the number of new imported cases and conserve resources for returning Singaporeans.

Almost 80 per cent of Singapore’s new COVID-19 infections over the past three days were imported cases with travel histories to 22 different countries, MoH said in its press release.

A man wearing a hazmat suit and mask mops the floor inside the Hajjah Fatimah Mosque in Singapore. PHOTO: AP