The Multi-Ministry Taskforce has implemented new border restrictions for travellers from the UK, amid reports of a potentially more contagious strain of Covid-19 virus circulating there.
These new restrictions will take effect from 11:59pm on Dec. 23 (i.e. Dec. 24), and will be in place until further notice.
Travel and transit restricted
Currently, travellers with travel history to the UK within 14 days prior to departure to Singapore are required to serve a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at dedicated SHN facilities.
Travellers who are not Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents (PRs) are also required to take a Covid-19 PCR test within 72 hours before departure, and present a valid negative Covid-19 test result as a condition of approval to enter Singapore.
Now, all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to the UK within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or transit through Singapore.
This will also apply to all those who had obtained prior approval for entry into Singapore.
Only Singaporeans and PRs may travel from UK
Returning Singapore Citizens and PRs will be required to undergo a Covid-19 PCR test upon arrival in Singapore, at the start of their 14-day SHN.
According to MOH, while the strain has been suggested to be more transmissible, there is currently insufficient evidence to determine if this strain is associated with any change in disease severity, antibody response or vaccine efficacy.
These aspects are being investigated by the UK authorities, and MOH will evaluate the data as it emerges, and will review Singapore's border measures accordingly.
More restrictions for those with travel history to NSW
Separately, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce also announced new restrictions for travellers from New South Wales (NSW) in Australia.
MOH had earlier announced that travellers from Australia will be able to go about their activities in Singapore without a need to serve a SHN, if they undergo a Covid-19 PCR test upon arrival, with a negative result.
Given the increased cases observed in NSW, MOH has tightened border control measures for travellers with travel history to NSW.
Starting from 11:59pm on Dec. 23 (i.e. Dec. 24), all travellers departing from Australia will be required to declare their travel history at airline check-in, prior to their flight to Singapore.
Singapore Citizens, PRs and Long-Term Pass holders entering Singapore with travel history to NSW within the last 14 days before departure for Singapore will be subject to a seven-day SHN at their place of residence.
They will also have to take a Covid-19 PCR test before the end of the SHN period.
In addition, short-term travellers holding an Air Travel Pass with travel history to NSW, Australia, within the last 14 days before departure for Singapore, will not be allowed to enter Singapore.
All other travellers departing from Australia who have been in Australia, excluding NSW, in the last 14 days prior to travel will continue to be subject to a Covid-19 test upon arrival at the airport, in lieu of their SHN.
According to MOH, Singapore will continue to adjust its border measures as the global situation evolves, in order to manage the risk of importation and transmission to the community.
Top image via Heathrow Airport/FB.