Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Singapore extends domestic restrictions through June 1 due to COVID-19. International travel bans, social distancing measures in place.

This alert affects Singapore

This alert began 21 Apr 2020 15:07 GMT and is scheduled to expire 04 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
The government has extended domestic gathering and business restrictions through June 1 to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Officials are strictly enhancing restrictions for a two-week period through May 4, which was the date when the restrictions were previously scheduled to end. Restrictions will then be reassessed and possibly eased, though many controls are set to continue through at least June 1. Authorities will close additional businesses through May 4, only allowing establishments providing essential services to keep their facilities open. These essential services include medical and transport services, food retailers, and industries important to global supply chains; these services are required to follow social distancing measures. Nonessential businesses must implement telecommuting options if they wish to operate. Officials will also impose entry restrictions at certain locations that attract crowds, such as wet markets and supermarkets. Authorities will designate specific days that people can enter these high-population areas depending on the last digit of their National Registration Identification Card or their Foreign Identification Number.

Officials are maintaining Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) orange, the second-highest level. Officials have closed all tourist attractions, casinos, sports and recreation facilities, places of worship, and educational centers; schools are employing remote learning measures. The government has also banned all social gatherings by people who do not live together. Although these restrictions are scheduled to remain in effect through June 1, the Ministry of Health is empowered to enforce the measures through at least Oct. 7. Additionally, the government is requiring people to wear face masks when outside home, with exemptions for those having strenuous exercise and children below two years old. First-time offenders will face SGD 300 (USD 210) fines, while repeat offenders will receive higher fines and could face prosecution.

Officials are also requiring low- to semi-skilled construction sector workers who are holding work permits or S Passes to serve a 14-day Stay-Home Notice at their residence through May 4. The measure also affects the dependents of these workers. Authorities have also declared 13 dormitories for foreign workers in several areas, including Jurong and Punggol, as isolation areas due to high COVID-19 activity at the sites; workers living in the dormitories are under quarantine for at least 14 days.

State carrier Singapore Airlines (SQ) and its subsidiaries, Scoot (TR) and SilkAir (MI), have suspended most of their scheduled flights. From April 21, Singapore-based airline JetStar Asia Airways (3K) is temporarily resuming some routes to Bangkok, Manila, and Kuala Lumpur. JetStar is only providing flights for citizens and permanent residents who are returning to their home country and passengers who have documentation approving their travel.

Travel Restrictions

With few exceptions, only Singaporean citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter the country. Officials have banned entry or transit of all short-term visa holders; the measure extends to work pass holders and their dependents, with exemptions for those providing essential services like healthcare and transport. All long-term visit pass and student pass holders will also need to apply for government approval before traveling to Singapore. Authorities are requiring all arriving passengers to submit an online health declaration up to three days before entering the country. Officials are also continuing to conduct enhanced health screenings for incoming travelers at all points of entry; passengers who show COVID-19 symptoms must undergo a swab test. The government requires all inbound travelers to self-isolate at designated facilities for 14 days. The government has also advised residents to avoid nonessential international travel. The Johor Causeway linking Singapore to Malaysia will only be open 0700-1900 from April 24. Authorities may further expand travel restrictions and other measures in the coming weeks, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases in-country.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. 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
Postpone 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.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int

Ministry of Health: www.moh.gov.sg