Singapore bans travelers from Iran, South Korea, and northern Italy March 4 due to COVID-19 activity. Raised health alert level in effect.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 03 Mar 2020 19:24 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Singaporean authorities have instituted an indefinite ban on foreign nationals with recent travel history to Iran, South Korea, and northern Italy from entering the country starting March 4. Foreign travelers who have visited any of the affected areas in the previous 14 days are barred from entering Singapore. Officials had previously banned foreign passengers who traveled to Daegu and Cheongdo County in South Korea. Singapore also continues to ban foreign travelers who have visited mainland China in the previous 14 days, as well as Chinese passport holders without permanent residency status or long-term passes. Singaporean and foreign nationals with permanent residency status or long-term passes are permitted to return to Singapore from the restricted areas and countries. However, any individual re-entering Singapore from northern Italy, mainland China, South Korea, or Iran is subject to a mandatory 14-day home quarantine period. Singaporean authorities have been especially proactive in restricting travel from areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases; therefore, travel restrictions will very likely be expanded to additional countries in the coming days and weeks. The duration of the travel restrictions will likely depend on the course of the outbreak in various countries.

Enhanced health screenings continue for all passengers at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN). Officials are using thermal scanners and staff checks to monitor incoming travelers; staff will take any passengers experiencing symptoms to nursing stations onsite. Temperature checks are also occurring at all land and sea points of entry; officials could refer passengers with a high temperature to hospitals for assessment.

As of March 4, Iraq and Israel have continued restricting entry for foreign nationals with recent travel history in Singapore. Several countries, including India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Qatar, and South Korea, are advising their citizens to avoid nonessential travel to Singapore due to ongoing COVID-19 activity within Singapore itself. Additional foreign governments may update their warnings for the country, and possibly restrict travel from Singapore, in the coming days and weeks.

Officials are maintaining the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level at orange - the second-highest level - as of March 4. Under the DORSCON orange level, authorities have limited access to some facilities - such as schools - and canceled inter-school activities. Officials are also implementing temperature checks and controlling entry points at hospitals. Authorities have also encouraged workplaces to review business continuity plans and consider telecommute options. Companies may also require employees to conduct regular temperature checks and report any symptoms, such as coughing. Authorities have also advised event organizers to cancel or defer non-essential large-scale gatherings.

Advice
Review business continuity plans; consider adopting telecommuting options. Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings, particularly if traveling from affected countries. Consider postponing travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Review national travel advisories; confirm flights traveling from Singapore to countries with active travel advisories.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. 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
Ministry of Health: www.moh.gov.sg

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