Singapore to bar short-term visitors, limit entry of work-pass holders amid COVID-19 outbreak
Singapore announced Sunday to deny the entry of short-term visitors regardless of their nationalities and limit the entry of work-pass holders, as the newest of a slew of border control measures.
Starting from 11:59pm March 23, all short-term visitors will now not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore, said Lawrence Wong, National Development Minister and co-chair of the multi-ministry taskforce set up to combat the novel coronavirus.
Previously, except for a handful of countries, short-term visitors from elsewhere were allowed to come into Singapore, save they were issued a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) upon arrival.
Moreover, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will only allow the entry or return of work pass holders, including their dependents, for those providing essential services, such as in healthcare and transport.
Currently, all work pass holders and their dependents planning to enter or return to Singapore from any country are required to obtain MOM's approval before they can commence their journey.
This is to conserve resources so we can focus on Singaporeans, Wong said.
Some 533 short-term visitors arrived in Singapore on March 21.
In Singapore, almost 80 percent of its new COVID-19 cases over the past three days were imported, most of them are Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning home from abroad. These imported cases had travel histories to 22 different countries.
Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders returning to Singapore will be issued a 14-day SHN, who are required to remain in their place of residence at all times.
Singapore's Ministry of Health said on Saturday there were 432 cases of coronavirus patients in Singapore. Of the total, 140 cases were discharged, and two died on Saturday. Of the 290 patients still in hospital, most are stable or improving, but 14 are in critical care.