COVID-positive travellers to recover in hotel rooms by default: STB

A housekeeper walks along a corridor of guests rooms at a hotel in Singapore.
A housekeeper walks along a corridor of guests rooms at a hotel in Singapore. (PHOTO: Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — From Monday (20 December), travellers residing in hotels who test positive for COVID-19 or are identified as a close contact of a COVID case will recover or isolate in their hotel rooms by default.

Currently, the protocol is for affected travellers to notify hotel staff of their positive result, fill up a patient details form, and await further instructions. The Ministry of Health (MOH) will then assess whether the travellers are suitable to undergo in-situ recovery or to be conveyed to a COVID-19 care facility.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said in a media release on Thursday that from Monday, such cases will be issued an isolation order (IO) to remain in their accommodation for either 10 days (if fully vaccinated) or 14 days (if unvaccinated or partially vaccinated). They will be automatically discharged without further tests thereafter.

The IO will supersede any testing requirements they may have originally been subject to, and travellers under IO should not leave their room to undergo these tests.

Hotel guests who have a place of residence in Singapore and wish to recover at home, may seek hotels’ assistance to convey them to their accommodation. They should not make their own transport arrangements.

Those whose accommodations are unsuitable for isolation, who have medical or social conditions which pose a higher health risk, or who are severely ill, will be transferred to an appropriate care facility or hospital for recovery and will not recover in their hotel rooms.

Individuals who are not already residing in hotels and test positive should not check into a hotel. If their household environment is unsuitable for home recovery, they should inform MOH to arrange for their transfer to an appropriate care facility.

In line with current home recovery protocols, telemedicine support will also be made available to guests recovering in their rooms. Travellers continue to be responsible for the costs associated with recovery, testing and treatment, including any extended stay in hotels or care facilities.

Differentiated approach for Omicron variant cases

For confirmed and suspected cases of the Omicron variant and their close contacts, a differentiated approach will be adopted for now.

These cases will be conveyed to a designated care and isolation facility for recovery and will not undergo recovery in their hotel rooms. Close contacts of these cases will also be quarantined at a designated facility.

Care-givers may opt to remain in the same place of accommodation as travellers who have tested positive and should seek their hotel’s assistance to facilitate this. They will undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests at the start and end of their quarantine.

Protocol for those who test positive on daily ARTs

Meanwhile, travellers on vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) who test positive on any of their mandatory daily antigen rapid tests (ARTs), as well as those who have travel history in the last 10 days and test positive, must undergo a confirmatory PCR test at a Combined Test Centre.

Similarly, travellers who test positive on an ART while serving Stay-Home Notices should also inform their hotel and undergo a confirmatory PCR test.

These travellers must self-isolate until they receive the results of their confirmatory PCR test. If the results are negative, they may go about their daily activities with no further isolation. If positive, they should follow the same protocols as those of travellers in hotels.

Travellers who test positive on an ART after completing their SHN and/or mandatory testing regimes should isolate where they are for the next 72 hours. If they test positive thereafter, they should repeat their ART at least 24 hours apart and only resume normal activities once the result is negative.

Those who receive a Health Risk Warning (HRW) should immediately isolate in their room or place of residence and test themselves with an ART for the next seven days. If the test result is negative, they may proceed as per normal.

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