On Tuesday (Apr. 20), the Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced a spate of updated border measures for travellers from India, Hong Kong, the UK, and South Africa.
In a press release, the health ministry announced that Singapore will tighten border measures for travellers arriving from India, while loosening restrictions on travellers coming from Hong Kong, South Africa, and the UK.
Reducing entry approvals for non-citizens & PRs
MOH said in the press release that due to the worsening Covid-19 situation in India and the emergence of new virus variants, Singapore will tighten border measures for travellers with recent travel history to India.
This will be done by reducing entry approvals for non-Singapore citizens and permanent residents (PRs) with immediate effect.
In addition, starting from 11:59pm on Thursday (Apr. 22), all travellers with recent travel history to India will be subjected to an additional seven-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) after their 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities.
Singapore citizens, PRs, and Long-Term Pass holders may serve their additional seven-day SHN at their place of residence — given that they or their family members own it or are sole tenants of it — or in suitable accommodations such as a hotel.
As per the current requirement, they will be tested at the end of their SHN, and again after they have completed their additional seven-day SHN.
Travellers who have yet to complete their 14-day SHN by 11:59pm on Apr. 22 will also be subjected to the additional seven-day SHN period.
Migrant workers arriving from India in the Construction, Marine, and Process sectors will continue to be subjected to a 21-day SHN.
"These measures will minimise importation risks and protect public health," said MOH.
SHN for travellers from Hong Kong reduced to 7 days
Currently, travellers arriving from Hong Kong are required to serve a 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities.
MOH said that given the improved local situation in Hong Kong, travellers arriving from Hong Kong from Apr. 22 at 11:59pm will have their SHN period reduced to a seven-day SHN, which can be served at their place of residence if they are a Singaporean, PR, or Long-Term Pass holder and they or their family members own, or are sole tenants of the residence.
Otherwise, they will serve their seven-day SHN in a suitable accommodation, such as a hotel.
They will be subjected to an on-arrival Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, as well as another PCR test before the end of their seven-day SHN.
Border restrictions for travellers from South Africa & UK lifted
This was because of concerns about the more contagious variant of Covid-19 that was circulating in those areas, said MOH.
Singaporeans and PRs who were in these countries in the 14 days prior to their entry to Singapore have also been subjected to an additional seven-day SHN period at their place of residence, following their 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities.
MOH said that the restrictions on these travellers will be lifted because, "our existing border control and domestic measures have been able to contain the risks of community spread from imported cases with such variants, which is now present in many countries beyond UK and South Africa".
Starting from Apr. 22 at 11:59pm, Long-Term Pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to the UK and South Africa within the last 14 days will be allowed entry into Singapore, after obtaining the relevant entry approvals.
Arriving travellers will continue to serve a 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities, with an additional seven-day SHN at their place of residence or at a suitable accommodation such as a hotel.
In addition, travellers with recent travel history to the UK and South Africa will now be allowed to transit through Singapore on airlines approved to operate such transfers.
MOH said that it will continue to evaluate the data on the various strains of the Covid-19 virus as these emerge, and review Singapore's border measures accordingly.
Critical & essential official travel
MOH stated that starting from 11:59pm on Apr. 22, fully-vaccinated individuals who travel to higher-risk countries or regions as part of an official delegation part will be allowed to be subjected to a stringent testing and self-isolation regime upon returning to Singapore.
This travel includes that which is at the request of the Singapore government, important to safeguarding or advancing Singapore’s national interests, or for the purposes of representing Singapore in an official capacity in important meetings, functions, or international forums overseas.
The ministry explained that this is because "certain critical discussions need to be done face-to-face" and "official interactions are also crucial to safeguarding and advancing Singapore's national interests".
These individuals must adhere to a strict event-by-event controlled itinerary while overseas.
As an added precaution, these travellers will also be required to undergo a seven-day self-isolation period at home or in a hotel upon return.
They will only be allowed leave their place of accommodation to commute to the PCR test site or to the workplace for essential work that cannot be done remotely.
Travellers who are not fully-vaccinated will continue to be subjected to prevailing border measures upon their return.
Top photo by Joshua Lee.