Singapore continues to adjust controls, including travel restrictions, amid ongoing efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of Oct. 28. Starting Nov. 4, arrivals from Estonia, Fiji, Finland, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Turkey can serve their stay-at-home notice (SHN) at their residence for two weeks if they fulfill specific requirements. The travelers must have spent the previous 14 days in the aforementioned locations and must serve their SHN at the accommodation alone or with other travelers with the same travel history.
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 into 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. Travelers who spent the previous two weeks in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia (except Sabah State), and Taiwan 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. Incoming passengers with recent travel history to India, Indonesia, and the Philippines must test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before departure.
Arrangements for crossborder business and official travels are in place with Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, along with Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang provinces and Chongqing, Shanghai, and Tianjin municipalities in mainland China. Travelers entering Singapore under the 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, remain at their accommodation until the test returns negative, and adhere to controlled itineraries for the first 14 days of their visit. Officials will also start a similar scheme with Germany; the policy's start date and details are unclear.
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.
Singaporean and Hong Kong authorities will also start a travel scheme which allows crossborder leisure trips with protocols, such as testing negative for COVID-19 before traveling; the policy's start date and further details are unclear. Officials currently allow entry for all travelers from Australia (except Victoria State), Brunei, New Zealand, and Vietnam. Passengers must have remained in the mentioned locations for the last 14 consecutive days before entry, register online on the Safe Travel portal at least seven days before entry, and self-isolate until results from an on-arrival COVID-19 test are ready. Travelers who test negative are exempt from the compulsory SHN requirement, though they must still use the TraceTogether application for contact racing purposes. Officials will also allow locals to travel to the mentioned destinations.
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.