COVID-19: Singapore extends travel ban to new visitors from South Korea, Iran, northern Italy

SINGAPORE — From Wednesday (4 March) 2359 hours, new visitors with recent travel history to South Korea, Iran and northern Italy within the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore, Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the multi-ministry taskforce on COVID-19, said on Tuesday amid the worsening coronavirus outbreak in the three countries.

The announcement comes as these countries continue to grapple with a surge in confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in recent days. The three countries are just behind China in the tally of cases.

As of Tuesday, South Korea reported over 5,000 COVID-19 cases, including 28 deaths.

Daegu and Cheongdo - the worst hit areas - had earlier been designated as “special care zones” and the South Korean government has raised the nationwide health alert level to the highest level of “serious”.

Meanwhile, the reported cases in Italy rose to over 2,000 as of Tuesday, including 52 deaths.

The number of cases in Iran, as of Tuesday, reached more than 1,500 with 66 deaths.

Residents in Singapore - Singaporeans and permanent residents - and long-term pass holders with recent travel history to the three countries in the last 14 days will be issued with a Stay-Home Notice (SHN). 

Those who are served with the SHN have to remain in their place of residence at all times for 14 days after returning to Singapore. 

MOH on Tuesday also advised Singaporeans to avoid non-essential travel to South Korea, Iran, northern Italy and Japan.

As of Tuesday, Japan had more than 250 cases.

Speaking to reporters at a media doorstop, Wong said, “We have not included Japan in the incoming restrictions because the number of infected cases in Japan at this stage is still lower compared to the other countries. For Japan, we are managing the risk by having an advisory on outgoing trips at this juncture.”

On 1 February at 2359, a ban on visitors with recent travel to China to enter or transit through Singapore took effect. The ban was expanded from an earlier curb for visitors with travel history to the Chinese province of Hubei within the last 14 days.

Last Tuesday, a ban on visitors with recent travel to Daegu and Cheongdo came into effect.

  • additional reporting by Amir Hussain and Dhany Osman

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