Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Singapore to ease COVID-19 domestic controls, including workplace protocols, from Sept. 28. Entry restrictions remain in effect.

Alert Begins 24 Sep 2020 06:30 AM UTC
Alert Expires 23 Oct 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

Summary
Singapore continues to ease controls as of Sept. 24 amid lower local coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. From Sept. 28, more employees can work on-site with protocols in place. Companies must ensure that employees continue to telecommute half their working hours, and the workplace allows no more than half its staff in the premises at a given time. Other rules, such as spacing work stations one meter apart from each other, remain in place. Authorities encourage companies to stagger working hours. Essential services, including medical and food retailers, can continue operating on-site with full staff capacity. Additionally, from Oct. 3, the government will increase the attendance limit at religious events at places of worship and weddings to 100 people, with safeguards in place. Measures include dividing the attendees to multiple zones of up to 50 people each.

The government maintains its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) at Orange, the second-highest level, indicating some human-to-human transmission in the country. Authorities continue to require people to practice health protocols, including wearing facemasks in public. Most social gatherings remain capped at five people. Schools, retail stores, shopping centers, and select tourist sites are open with safeguards in place, while food establishments can serve dine-in customers. Officials limit entry into several popular wet markets and shopping centers, based on the last digit of identification numbers. Offenders will face fines and possible prosecution. Foreign workers staying in dormitories must download the TraceTogether contact tracing application and FWMOMCare health monitoring application.

The Johor Causeway, which links Singapore to Malaysia, is open 0700-1900 daily. State carrier Singapore Airlines (SQ) and its subsidiaries, Scoot (TR) and SilkAir (MI), continue to suspend most flights but plan to resume operations to several locations gradually. Singapore-based airline JetStar Asia Airways (3K) has resumed some routes. Foreigners flying with SQ, TR, and MI from select cities can transit via Singapore Changi Airport (SIN).

Travel Restrictions
Officials continue to ban entry of short-term visa holders, including work pass holders who do not provide essential services, with exceptions. Long-term visit pass and student pass holders must apply for official approval before traveling to Singapore. Incoming passengers must submit online health declarations up to three days before arrival. Arrivals must serve stay-at-home notice (SHN) for 14 days at government-designated premises, with exceptions. Travelers who spent the previous two weeks in Australia (except Victoria State), mainland China, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam can serve a seven-day SHN in their residences. Travelers must test negative for COVID-19 at the end of their SHN before they can leave the SHN facilities.

Singapore allows travel for business and other official reasons from Brunei; Japan; Malaysia; South Korea; and Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang provinces and Chongqing, Shanghai, and Tianjin municipalities in mainland China. Travelers allowed under the schemes must have a sponsoring Singaporean government agency or company and test negative for COVID-19 within 48-72 hours before departure. Upon arrival, they must receive another COVID-19 test and remain at their accommodation until the test returns negative; they must also adhere to controlled itineraries for the first 14 days of their visit.

Long-term pass holders from Malaysia traveling under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) program must isolate upon arrival for at least seven days or until they test negative for COVID-19, whichever is later. People residing in Brunei or New Zealand for 14 days before their trip can visit Singapore for leisure purposes. Foreign nationals from these locations must apply for an Air Travel Pass for entry; upon arrival, travelers must test for COVID-19 and self-isolate at their accommodation until the test result returns negative. Arrivals who have been in India in the past 14 days must test negative for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours before the trip.

Additionally, the government will pilot a scheme to allow Singapore-based senior business executives to travel overseas for work purposes regularly. The travelers must adhere to protocols, such as complying with a controlled itinerary while overseas and testing for COVID-19 or self-isolating upon returning to Singapore. The start date of the policy is unclear. The government may reintroduce or implement restrictions in the coming weeks 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.

Advice
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.


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