Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Singapore continues to adjust COVID-19 curbs as of Sept. 1. Officials accepting applications for business, official travel from Brunei.

Alert Begins 01 Sep 2020 11:18 AM UTC
Alert Expires 30 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport restrictions, enhanced health screenings, quarantine measures, business disruptions

Singaporean authorities continue to adjust controls, including travel restrictions, as of Sept. 1 to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Singaporean and Bruneian officials have agreed to start accepting applications for crossborder travel for business and official purposes from Sept. 1 in a so-called Reciprocal Green Lane scheme. For people traveling from Brunei to Singapore, a Singaporean host company or government agency must apply for the employee's travel pass and controlled itinerary for the first 14 days in Singapore. The travelers must have remained in Brunei for 14 days prior to travel, obtain a visa if applicable, purchase a return flight ticket, and test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before departure. Upon arrival in Singapore, the employees must test for COVID-19, remain in their pre-approved accommodation until the test returns negative, and adhere to the controlled itinerary and contact tracing measures.

The government is maintaining its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) at Orange, the second-highest level, indicating some human-to-human transmission in the country. However, authorities continue to gradually ease gathering and commercial restrictions. Select places of worship can host public activities for up to 100 people since Aug. 7, though activities at most religious sites remain limited to 50 people. The government is allowing social gatherings of up to five people, has reopened outdoor recreational areas like parks, and is allowing up to 50 people to attend weddings and 30 people at funerals. Retail stores and shopping centers can operate with distancing measures in place, while food establishments are serving dine-in customers. Schools have reopened with protocols in place. Select tourist sites have restarted operations with a maximum of 25 percent of operating capacity. Authorities continue to require people to practice social distancing measures, including standing at least 1 meter (3 feet) apart and wearing masks when in public.

While some commercial restrictions remain in place, multiple sectors, including finance, insurance, shipping, and logistics, can operate on-site with distancing measures. Essential services, including medical and transport services, food retailers, and industries important to global supply chains, can continue operating. Companies have to implement telecommunicating options if possible. Authorities are limiting entry into popular shopping centers Lucky Plaza and Peninsula Plaza on weekends, based on the last digit of their National Registration Identification Card (NRIC) or Foreign Identification Number (FIN). Protocols to limit entry to several popular wet markets based on the last digit of NRIC or FIN are ongoing. First-time offenders will face SGD 300 (USD 210) fines, while repeat offenders will receive higher fines and could face prosecution. Foreign workers who stay in dormitories have to download the TraceTogether contact tracing application and FWMOMCare health monitoring application.

State carrier Singapore Airlines (SQ) and its subsidiaries, Scoot (TR) and SilkAir (MI), continue to suspend most of their scheduled flights but plan to resume flights to several locations gradually. Singapore-based airline JetStar Asia Airways (3K) has also resumed some routes. Officials are allowing foreign nationals flying with SQ, TR, and MI from select cities to transit via Singapore Changi Airport (SIN). Passenger transit at SIN remains banned for flights to the affected cities.

Travel Restrictions
Authorities continue to ban the entry of short-term visa holders, including work pass holders who are not providing essential services, with limited exceptions. Long-term visit pass and student pass holders must apply for government approval before traveling to Singapore. Incoming passengers must submit an online health declaration up to three days before entering the country.

People who can still enter Singapore have to undergo 14 days of quarantine at government-designated facilities, with exceptions. Travelers who spent the previous 14 days in Australia (except Victoria State), mainland China, Macau, Taiwan, and Vietnam can serve their stay-at-home notice (SHN) in their residences; except for children below 12, the arrivals must use electronic monitoring devices. Travelers who have been to South Korea within the last two weeks must serve their SHN at government-designated facilities again since Aug. 29. Additionally, travelers from Australia (excluding Victoria State), mainland China, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam can serve a shortened SHN of seven days from Sept. 1. Travelers must test negative for COVID-19 at the end of their SHN before they can leave the SHN facilities. Officials also plan to allow entry of travelers who have resided in Brunei or New Zealand for 14 days before travel to Singapore from Sept. 8. Except for returning Singapore citizens, permanent residents, and long-term pass holders, travelers coming from Brunei and New Zealand will have to apply for an Air Travel Pass seven to 30 days before travel; the application process begins Sept. 1. The passengers have to test for COVID-19 upon arrival in Singapore and can participate in regular activities upon producing a negative result.

Limited cross-border travel with Malaysia for business and work purposes restarted Aug. 17 under the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) programs for short-visit and long-term travelers, respectively. Travelers under the RGL scheme must obtain sponsorship by a Singaporean host company or government agency, test for COVID-19 upon arrival, and remain at their accommodations until the test returns negative; travelers under the RGL scheme can stay in Singapore for up to two weeks. The PCA scheme is limited to long-term pass holders intending to stay in Singapore for at least 90 days and whose employers must submit applications on their behalf; these travelers must quarantine for at least seven days or until they test negative for COVID-19, whichever is later. Authorities are also allowing business trips to and from select parts of mainland China, including Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang provinces and Chongqing, Shanghai, and Tianjin municipalities. While these business travelers are exempt from the two-week quarantine requirement upon arrival in Singapore, they must test for COVID-19 again and self-isolate in their accommodations until test results return negative.

The government is advising residents to avoid most nonessential international travel. Singaporean students studying overseas with no distance-learning option may also travel. Officials are working with other governments, including Indonesia and Japanese authorities, to allow limited cross-border travel, through the start date is unclear. The Johor Causeway, which links Singapore to Malaysia, is open 0700-1900 daily. Authorities may reintroduce or expand measures in the coming weeks, particularly if local COVID-19 activity increases.

Background and Analysis
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Consider postponing travel if affected by travel restrictions. Confirm flight status before checking out of accommodation and departing for the airport. Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Back to the COVID-19 Risk Intelligence & Resource Center