Travelling to Singapore? Covid-19 test on arrival mandatory

Singapore: All travellers, including Singaporeans and permanent residents, will need to take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival in Singapore, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced.

This will take effect from 11.59 pm on January 24 as part of tighter border measures to manage the risk of imported COVID-19 cases, reported the Channel News Asia.

Singapore has seen an increase in the number of coronavirus cases, mostly imported or those arriving from other countries.

The Ministry on Saturday confirmed four coronavirus cases from the community (or local), one from the dormitories for foreign workers here and 19 imported cases.

The dormitory case is a 37-year-old Indian national who was detected through rostered routine testing on January 14.

The work permit holder lives in Tuas South Dormitory and works at Chevron Oronite as a thermal insulator installer.

His earlier tests from routine testing – the last being on December 17 – were negative for COVID-19 infection, said the Channel report.

Currently, travellers who are not Singaporeans or permanent residents and who have a recent travel history to high-risk countries or regions are required to take a PCR test within 72 hours before departure. They are then tested again at the end of their stay-home notice period.

In a media release, the Ministry noted the emergence of new COVID-19 variants and the worsening coronavirus situation around the world.

“The multi-ministry task force regularly reviews Singapore’s border measures to manage the risk of importation and onward local transmission from travellers,” it said.

“Given the resurgence of COVID-19 cases around the world, we will be putting in place more stringent measures for travellers to manage the risk of importation.”

The ministry also announced that all Singaporeans and permanent residents returning from the United Kingdom and South Africa will be subject to an additional seven days of self-isolation at their place of residence, following their 14-day stay-home notice period at dedicated facilities.

This takes effect from 11.59 pm on January 18.

They will be tested at the end of their stay-home notice, as with the current requirement, and again after they complete their seven-day self-isolation period, said the MOH.

Singapore authorities had earlier restricted entry and transit for all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with a recent travel history to the UK and South Africa, due to concerns of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus circulating in those countries.

With effect from 11.59 pm on January 31, visitors applying to enter Singapore under the Air Travel Pass (ATP) and Reciprocal Green Lanes (RGLs) will need to have travel insurance for their COVID-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs in Singapore, with a minimum coverage of SGD 30,000 ( ₹16,50,000 approx).

“The travel insurance will help them pay for the costs of their medical treatment in Singapore. The visitors can purchase the travel insurance from Singapore-based or overseas insurers,” said the Ministry.

The 29 imported cases reported on Friday included 13 work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India and Myanmar, five of whom are foreign domestic workers.

Separately, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday that the Singapore-Japan Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) has been suspended until the state of emergency in Japan is lifted.

Singapore has recorded 59,083 coronavirus cases as of Saturday. In all, 58,784 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities while there have been 29 deaths relating to the disease.

There are currently 54 confirmed cases in hospitals while 216 are isolated and cared for at community facilities for mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.

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