Singapore tightens COVID-19 rules for travellers from India

SINGAPORE (CNA) – COVID-19 border measures will be tightened for travellers from India, who will have to serve an additional seven days of stay-home notice at their residence following their 14-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday.

This follows a surge of COVID-19 infections in India in recent days. The new requirement will take effect today at 11.59pm.

With immediate effect, Singapore will also reduce entry approvals for non-Singapore citizens or permanent residents due to the worsening situation in India and the emergence of new virus variants, said the Singapore Ministry of Health.

Travellers from India will be tested after their 14-day stay-home notice period, according to current requirements, and again after the seven-day stay-home notice period.

“Travellers who have yet to complete their 14-day stay-home notice by April 22, 2021, 11.59pm, will also be subjected to the additional seven-day stay-home period,” said the Singaporean ministry.

“Migrant workers arriving from India in the construction, marine and process sectors will continue to be subjected to a 21-day stay-home notice. These measures will minimise importation risks and protect public health.”

The Health Ministry also announced that it is easing measures for travellers arriving from Hong Kong following an improvement of the COVID-19 situation in the city.

Their stay-home notice period will be reduced from 14 days to seven, and the notice period can be served at their place of residence “if suitable”, said the ministry.

This will apply to travellers who have remained in Hong Kong in the last 14 consecutive days and who enter Singapore today at 11.59pm.

They will be subject to a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on arrival and another swab before the end of their seven-day stay-home notice.

At the same time, Singapore authorities will also begin allowing long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to the United Kingdom (UK) and South Africa.

“The multi-ministry taskforce regularly reviews Singapore’s border measures to manage the risk of importation from travellers and onward local transmission, taking into account the current situation in their source countries or regions,” said the ministry.

India, the country currently being hit hardest by the pandemic, on Tuesday reported its worst daily death toll, with large parts of the country now under lockdown amid a fast-rising second wave of infections.

Its Health Ministry said 1,761 people had died in the past day, bringing India’s toll to 180,530. It is well below the 567,538 deaths reported in the United States (US), although experts believe India’s actual deaths are far more than the official count.

The world’s second-most populous country is grappling with its biggest public health emergency after it lowered its guard when coronavirus infections fell to a multi-month low in February, said health experts and officials.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Protection has said all travel should be avoided to India, while Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled an official trip to New Delhi that had been scheduled for next week, and his government said it will add India to its travel “red list”.

Hong Kong also suspended flights from India from Tuesday, the same day that the city reported that at least 53 passengers on a flight from New Delhi tested positive for COVID-19. Singapore’s Health Ministry on Tuesday said it will continue to adjust border measures to manage risk.