Singapore to tighten rules for arrivals from Malaysia's Sabah Oct. 15 onward, and from Indonesia and Philippines from Oct. 20.
Alert Begins 13 Oct 2020 06:25 AM UTC
Alert Expires 13 Nov 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
Singapore continues to adjust controls, including travel restrictions, to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of Oct. 13. Starting Oct. 15, authorities will require arrivals who have traveled to Malaysia's Sabah State within the past 14 days to quarantine at government-designated facilities for two weeks. The policy, which is in response to higher COVID-19 activity in the Malaysian state, also affects people using the special cross-border travel arrangements. Authorities will also ease quarantine rules for arrivals from Hong Kong and allow such passengers to serve stay-at-home notice (SHN) at their residence for seven days from Oct. 15. Additionally, starting Oct. 20, officials will require passengers with recent travel history to Indonesia or the Philippines to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before departure; similar rules are in place for entrants from India. Travelers must test negative for COVID-19 at the end of their SHN before they can leave the SHN facilities; the same protocols are in place for travelers from mainland China, Macau, Malaysia (excluding Sabah State), and Taiwan.
Authorities continue to ease domestic controls amid lower local COVID-19 activity. Employees can work on-site for up to half of their working hours daily; a maximum of 50 percent of staff may be present at the workplace 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. The government allows weddings and religious events at places of worship to host up to 100 people, with safeguards such as 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 have lifted entry restrictions to several popular wet markets. Foreign workers staying in dormitories must download the TraceTogether 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).
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 SHN for 14 days at government-designated premises, with exceptions.
Authorities will start accepting applications for business and other official travels with Indonesia in a so-called Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) arrangement from Oct. 26, with protocols such as compulsory COVID-19 tests before travel and upon arrival. The government will provide further information on the scheme in the coming days. Similar travel arrangements are in place with Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, along with Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang provinces and Chongqing, Shanghai, and Tianjin municipalities in mainland China. Travelers allowed to enter Singapore under the existing programs must have a sponsoring Singaporean government agency or company, seek prior approval from the Singaporean authorities, and test negative for COVID-19 within 48-72 hours before departure. Except for those from Malaysia's Sabah State, travelers must receive another COVID-19 test upon arriving in Singapore 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 (except Sabah State) 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.
Singapore allows entry for all travelers, including returning Singapore citizens and residents, from Australia (except Victoria State), Brunei, New Zealand, and Vietnam. Passengers must register online on the Safe Travel portal at least seven days before the planned entry date. Applicants must have remained in Australia (except Victoria State), Brunei, New Zealand, or Vietnam for the last 14 consecutive days before entry. Travelers must self-isolate until results from an on-arrival COVID-19 test are ready; those who test negative are exempt from the compulsory Stay-Home Notice, though they must still use the TraceTogether mobile application for contact racing purposes. Officials will also allow locals to travel to the mentioned destinations. 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.
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.