COVID-19: Singapore mulling 'consequences' for citizens, residents who continue to travel overseas

SINGAPORE – The Singapore government is discussing measures to address the issue of citizens, residents and work pass holders who may still be travelling despite its advisory to defer all travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Any Singapore resident who may still choose to travel despite the advisories being raised to the highest level, I think there have to be consequences,” said Minister of National Development and coronavirus multi-ministry taskforce co-chair Lawrence Wong on Sunday (22 March).

“Any work pass holder that decides from now onwards to leave Singapore, the risk is that they may not be allowed entry later on... If it’s a citizen or permanent resident, then we will have to consider what other measures (to take), and we are in the midst of doing so,” he added during a media doorstop.

Wong noted that along with many other Asian countries, Singapore is seeing a new and larger wave of imported COVID-19 cases – namely from the US and Europe.

Despite an advisory issued for Singaporeans to defer all travel abroad, he noted that the authorities are aware of citizens and permanent residents who have continued to travel.

“It could be that they have very exceptional reasons to travel, but we do not want to see a third wave of imported cases from returning Singaporeans,” he said.

“We are already having to digest this wave of returning Singaporeans now. If we have to face third or fourth recurring waves of imported cases, it will be very, very challenging,” Wong added.

Prior to this, he had announced that Singapore will be closing its borders to all short-term visitors from 11.59pm on Monday. These visitors will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore.

Wong also called on returning citizens and residents to fully abide by their 14-day Stay-Home Notices (SHNs)

Singaporeans evacuated from Iran

Earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced that eight Singaporeans had arrived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from Tehran, Iran. They had boarded a repatriation flight arranged by the Malaysian government for its nationals.

The Singaporeans will serve a 14-day quarantine in Kuala Lumpur, as required by the Malaysian health authorities before returning to Singapore, the MFA said in its press release.  

“The Singapore government would like to express our deepest appreciation to the Malaysian government and the Embassy of Malaysia in Tehran for accepting our request to help evacuate the Singaporeans from Iran.”

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