Singapore to ban non-resident visitors from India due to COVID-19

SINGAPORE — All non-Singaporean and non-permanent resident travellers who have been to India in the preceding two weeks will be barred from entering Singapore from Friday (23 April) night.

The Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) on Thursday said the ban, which will come into force at 11.59pm on Friday until further notice, will be applied to all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history, including transit history, to India within the last 14 days.

The MTF said it has been "closely monitoring the global COVID-19 situation especially given the rapidly deteriorating situation in India".

India, which is the second-most populous country in the world with over 1.3 billion people, recorded more than 300,000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

Global concerns have been sparked by the emergence of a "double mutant" Indian strain, which appears to be the main driving force behind the surge in new cases in the country. It has been detected in at least 17 countries.

Yahoo News Singapore on Wednesday reported that the first case of the Indian variant in Singapore was detected on 26 February.

The health ministry confirmed that 46 cases of the Indian variant have been detected as of Tuesday, all of which were imported.

The MTF on Thursday said further tightening border measures is necessary as many of the arrivals from India are workers in the Construction, Marine and Process (CMP) sectors.

"Even though these workers would have served the Stay Home Notice (SHN) before they start work, there is still a risk that a leak may happen, and cause another wave of infection in the dormitories. It is also a concern that recovered workers (i.e. those who had been infected earlier) are susceptible to being re-infected," said the MTF.

Additional seven-day SHN at dedicated facilities

Aside from the travel ban, all travellers with recent travel history to India who have yet to complete their 14-day SHN by 11.59pm on Thursday will need to complete their additional seven-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities, instead of their place of residence.

They will undergo COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests on-arrival, on Day 14 of their SHN, and another test before the end of their 21-day SHN period.

The MTF also said that with the emergence of new variants of concern around the world, it will closely monitor for re-infection of recovered COVID-19 cases. It is also reviewing border measures for recovered travellers.

"Imported cases suspected of re-infection will be isolated and undergo repeat COVID-19 PCR tests to monitor the trend of their viral loads, to ensure that such cases are detected promptly," it said.

With immediate effect, all newly arrived migrant workers from higher-risk countries or regions, including those with a positive serology result, will now have to undergo SHN at a dedicated facility before being onboarded at Migrant Workers Onboarding Centre (MWOC) for an additional testing regime.

Meanwhile, newly arrived migrant workers with a serology positive result will also be enrolled onto 14-day RRT after they have completed the SHN and stay at MWOC.

To date, Singapore has recorded 60,880 coronavirus cases, of which over 4,000 are imported.

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