SINGAPORE — Most short-term visitors will remain banned from entering Singapore, while Singapore residents are still urged to defer all travel abroad, even as the city-state enters its second phase of reopening on Friday (19 June).
Only those coming in under green lane travel arrangements with China, or have special prior approval, are allowed to enter the country, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).
From 11.59pm on Wednesday, those who enter and leave Singapore will have to bear the cost of their COVID-19 tests. Those who are neither Singaporeans nor permanent residents will also have to pay the cost of their stay at dedicated stay-home notice (SHN) facilities.
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the multi-ministry taskforce (MTF) on COVID-19, told a virtual media conference, “Up to now, the costs of tests and the costs of SHN facilities have been borne by the government. But looking ahead, as we expand, as we reopen for more travel, we will want to move to a more sustainable position.”
Testing will also be ramped up for all incoming travellers – including Singapore residents and long-term pass holders – who must be tested a few days before the end of their mandatory stay-home notice.
“It is an additional precautionary measure to detect the virus, especially given the risks of asymptomatic cases. We will monitor the results of these tests and may make adjustments to the testing requirements over time,” said the MOH.
The affected individuals will receive information on the scheduled appointment slot and venue of a designated community testing facility via an SMS notification.
They will have to travel from their place of residence to the designated testing facility, and return immediately after the test, using their own private vehicle, taxi or private hire car. Public transport should be avoided.
Reopening of borders for some
In tandem, all travellers entering Singapore from 11.59pm on Wednesday who had remained in Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, mainland China, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam for the last consecutive 14 days prior to their entry, will no longer have to serve their stay-home notice at dedicated facilities.
All other travellers entering Singapore will continue to serve their 14-day SHN at dedicated facilities, for now.
Applicable Singapore residents – both Singaporeans and permanent residents – may serve their 14-day notice at their place of residence, while long-term pass holders may serve it at a place of residence that they or their family members own or are sole tenants of; or in suitable accommodation such as a hotel, at their own cost.
All persons serving the notice must remain in their place of residence at all times, and will be subject to close monitoring of their whereabouts, through electronic monitoring as well as physical spot-checks.
Strict enforcement action will be taken against those who breach the requirements.
Long-term pass holders
Prior approval to enter Singapore will remain a requirement for long-term pass holders. And while the flow of such returnees has been regulated, Wong said that authorities plan to allow more of them to return to Singapore in the coming weeks.
“We now have more capacity for testing for SHN facilities. Including the possibility that some may serve their SHN at home, we are now able to facilitate the re-entry of more long term pass holders in the coming weeks,” said Wong.
Priority will be given to those with deep roots to Singapore or have exigent circumstances. MOH added that it will look into facilitating business travels, in particular for professionals based in Singapore who need to travel frequently as part of their work, with the necessary safeguards.
The media conference was held on the same day that the MOH reported 214 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore as of Monday noon, bringing the total number of cases to 40,818. It is the country’s lowest daily reported tally in over two months.
Following a partial lockdown of the country from 7 April to 1 June, Singapore began the first phase of its reopening on 2 June. The reopening will be spread out over three phases.
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