Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Singapore to quarantine all arrivals at designated facilities from 2359 April 9 due to COVID-19. Social distancing measures in place.

This alert affects Singapore

This alert began 08 Apr 2020 07:21 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 will require all inbound travelers to self-isolate at designated facilities for 14 days to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) starting 2359 April 9.

Officials are maintaining Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) orange, the second-highest level. However, authorities have announced the closure of most workplaces through May 4; companies must implement telecommuting options if they wish to operate. Only businesses that offer essential services, including medical and transport services, food retailers, and industries important to global supply chains can continue to operate, with social distancing measures in place. Officials have closed all tourist attractions, casinos, sports and recreation facilities, places of worship, and educational centers; schools are employing remote learning measures as of April 8. The government has also banned all gatherings outside of cohabitants, though exemptions are in place for caregivers. Although restrictions are in effect through May 4, the Ministry of Health is empowered to enforce the measures through at least Oct. 7. First-time offenders could face fines of up to SGD 10,000 (USD 7,000) and/or imprisonment of up to six months.

Authorities have also declared three dormitories for foreign construction workers in Jurong and Punggol as isolation areas due to high COVID-19 activity at the sites; workers living there 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. Singapore-based airline JetStar Asia Airways (3K) has suspended operations through April 15. Flight disruptions are likely to continue due to significantly decreased demand and travel restrictions.

Travel Restrictions

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. Authorities will transfer suspected cases to and hospitals for further checks. The government has also advised residents to avoid nonessential international travel. 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