Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Singapore requires arrivees from high-risk areas to quarantine at designated facilities from July 20 due to COVID-19. Other measures remain.

  • Alert Begins: 17 Jul 2020 03:48 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 31 Jul 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 authorities will require passengers arriving from some high-risk areas to serve stay-at-home notices (SHN) at dedicated facilities from 0001 July 20. The measure is due to increasing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity in some countries. People who had visited or transited through Japan, Hong Kong, and Victoria State, Australia, in the last 14 days will have to stay at an SHN facility for two weeks at their own cost. Passengers will need to also pass a COVID-19 test before leaving the SHN facility. Authorities may expand the measure to other high-risk countries if caseloads abroad escalate.

The new measure comes as the government continues to gradually decrease gathering and commercial restrictions across the country. However, authorities continue to maintain Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) Orange, the second-highest level, indicating some human-to-human transmission in the country. The government is allowing social gatherings of up to five people, has reopened outdoor recreational areas such as parks, and is allowing up to 20 people to attend funerals and weddings. Retail stores have reopened, and food establishments are serving dine-in customers. Shopping centers have reopened with social distancing measures in place. Schools have also reopened with distancing controls in place. Officials have allowed select tourist sites, including Singapore Zoo and Universal Studios Singapore, to reopen with a maximum of 25 percent of operating capacity since July 1. Authorities are requiring people to continue practicing social distancing measures, including standing at least 1 meter (3 feet) apart, when in public.

Some commercial restrictions remain in place as of July 17, with multiple sectors, including finance, insurance, shipping, and logistics, being allowed to resume operations with social distancing measures. Essential services, including medical and transport services, food retailers, and industries important to global supply chains, can operate. Companies are required to implement telecommunicating options if possible. Despite the easing of some restrictions, officials are still requiring people to wear facemasks in public and may continue to restrict entry to areas that attract crowds, such as wet markets, by designating specific days that people can enter these areas based on the last digit of their National Registration Identification Card or Foreign Identification Number. First-time offenders will face SGD 300 (USD 210) fines, while repeat offenders will receive higher fines and could face prosecution. Authorities are requiring foreign workers who stay in dormitories 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. However, SQ and MI plan to resume flights to several locations through July. Singapore-based airline JetStar Asia Airways (3K) has also resumed routes to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Manila. As of July 17, only Singapore Airlines, Scoot, and Silkair are allowed to offer transit flights at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) with precautions in place; authorities are allowing transit flights from Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney in Australia; Chongqing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai in mainland China; Hong Kong; Osaka and Tokyo's Narita International Airport (NRT) in Japan; Seoul in South Korea; and Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand. Passenger transit at SIN remains banned for flights to the affected cities.

Travel Restrictions
With some exceptions, only Singaporean citizens and permanent residents are authorized to enter the country. Authorities have banned entry for most short-term visa holders; the measure extends to work pass holders and their dependents, except for those providing essential services. Long-term visit pass and student pass holders must apply for government approval before traveling to Singapore. All arrivals have to submit an online health declaration up to three days before entering the country.

Authorities are allowing business trips between Singapore and so-called fast lane regions in China, including Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang provinces and Chongqing, Shanghai, and Tianjin municipalities. Inbound travelers can apply for special passes and must test negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours prior to departing for Singapore. While these travelers will not need to undergo two-week quarantine upon arrival in Singapore, they will be tested for COVID-19 again and must self-isolate in accommodations until test results are available. They are also required to stay in one of the fast lane regions in China for seven days before traveling to Singapore.

Despite travelers from Victoria, Hong Kong, and Japan being required to complete their SHN period as designated facilities, travelers from lower-risk areas are allowed to complete their SHN periods at their own residences, where applicable.

Authorities have advised residents to avoid nonessential international travel. The Johor Causeway, which links Singapore to Malaysia, is open 0700-1900 daily. Singaporean and Malaysian authorities plan to allow limited cross-border travel for some groups of people from Aug. 10. The government may reintroduce or expand measures in the coming weeks, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases in-country.

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
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.


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