Tourists & Visitors Cannot Enter Or Transit In Singapore From 23 Mar Onwards
In a move to curb imported Covid-19 cases, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Sunday (22 Mar) that all short-term visitors will not be allowed into Singapore from 11.59pm tomorrow (23 Mar) onwards.
This includes those who are transiting to other destinations — an unprecedented move for a major travelling hub like Singapore.
The Straits Times reports that this new measure is to ensure priority treatment for Singaporeans amid dwindling resources.
Most Covid-19 cases in recent days are imported
There has been a sharp increase in imported cases over the past few days, and further increases may overload the healthcare system as well as enforcement efforts.
Of the cases in recent days, almost 80% were imported. While most are Singaporean returnees, some of them were also short-term visitors.
Since the imported cases are from as many as 22 countries, it’s become impossible to pre-empt where outbreaks are happening.
This has resulted in MOH’s decision to bar all visitors and issue Stay-Home Notices (SHN) to all returnees, who must self-quarantine for 14 days.
Singaporeans’ health must be prioritised amid “unprecedented crisis”
Singapore is a global trading port and tourism is a big part of the country. But this isn’t the time to travel.
Not many short-term visitors have been diagnosed with Covid-19 — they made up just 6 out of 47 new cases on Saturday (21 Mar).
But they also take up resources, explained Minister Lawrence Wong; resources that should go to Singaporeans.
Singaporeans’ health comes first, he said, and things like tourism can take a backseat.
Government considering measures to stop Singaporeans from travelling
In the other direction, the government is also considering measures against Singaporeans who choose to travel abroad during this time.
These measures are presumably being ironed out, but Mr Wong is concerned that Singaporeans who travel may return with Covid-19.
I don’t think we can allow this to continue. We are discussing what additional measures may be needed.
Understandably so, given the stark amount of Singaporean imported cases recently. Countries hit early by Covid-19 are now facing a second surge of cases, mostly imported, as other countries have been slower to react.
Work pass holders may also face the possibility of not being able to come back to Singapore if they leave now.
Even stricter measures necessary, don’t travel now
As Singapore continues to enforce social distancing measures, the threat of travel looms large in the challenge to contain Covid-19.
Singaporeans really shouldn’t travel abroad now, especially when many countries are yet to get to grips with Covid-19. The plague is now hidden among many more than official statistics show.
At the same time, the new travel restriction inwards will be a further hit to many businesses. We hope they can get the support they need to stay strong amid the current outbreak.
Featured image adapted from YouTube.