Non-S'pore residents who have been to India will need negative COVID-19 pre-departure test

A man walking at a transit area at Changi Airport on June 8, 2020. (Photo: Getty Images)
A man walking at a transit area at Changi Airport on June 8, 2020. (Photo: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Amid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in India, and a significant number of imported cases with recent travel to the country, the Singapore authorities will require non-Singapore residents – who are not Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) – to test negative for the virus before they travel to Singapore.

The new rule will kick in at midnight next Thursday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Wednesday (9 September).

It will apply to travellers who have been to India within the last 14 days prior to their entry to Singapore.

They will have to take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, or swab test, within 72 hours before departure.

“Travellers will need to present a valid negative COVID-19 test result as a condition of approval to enter Singapore,” said the MOH.

The new requirement will apply on top of the existing requirements of a 14-day stay home notice at dedicated facilities and a negative COVID-19 test before the end of the notice.

“As the global situation evolves, we will continue to adjust our border measures to manage the risk of importation and any onward transmission to the community,” said the MOH.

“Travellers planning to enter Singapore should be prepared to be subjected to the prevailing border measures upon entry, including payment for their stay at dedicated stay-home notice facilities and tests, where applicable,” the ministry added.

Non-Singaporean travellers arriving from India had made up the highest number of imported COVID-19 cases over a five-month period here, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in a written parliamentary reply last Friday.

Between 1 April and 31 August, 183 cases who arrived from India had tested positive for the virus here, comprising some 63 per cent of the total of 292 non-Singaporean imported cases the city-state saw in the same period.

This is followed by the Philippines with 46 non-Singaporean imported cases, and Indonesia with 15, said Gan, who is also the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce co-chair.

Of the 292 cases, 56 are PRs, 110 are work pass holders, 99 are long-term visit holders while 27 are short-term visit pass holders.

India overtook Brazil in coronavirus infection numbers on Monday, making it second only to the United States. It now has over 4.3 million cases, while the Philippines and Indonesia have over 245,000 and more than 203,000 cases, respectively.

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