The Vietnamese woman, who was the first reported Covid-19 case in the KTV cluster, entered Singapore in February 2021 via the familial ties lane, sponsored by a Singapore citizen who is her boyfriend.
This was revealed by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Friday, July 16 in an early morning statement.
She is a short-term visit pass holder, and one of those linked to the cluster who had their passes extended.
The statement said the familial ties lane facilitates the entry of foreigners with "intimate ties" in Singapore.
“During this pandemic, ICA has been assessing applications to extend short-term visit passes on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration extenuating reasons, such as international travel restrictions and flight availability, and whether the applicants have family ties in Singapore,” ICA-MOM said.
“For example, Vietnamese nationals can only return to Vietnam through relief flights arranged by the Vietnamese authorities.”
Under the law, short-term visitors are not allowed to engage in any form of employment, whether paid or unpaid, in Singapore.
Those who are found to have broken this law are liable to be prosecuted or have their visit pass cancelled, and deported and be barred from re-entering Singapore, said MOM and ICA.
Background on first reported KTV case
The first reported case in the KTV cluster, also known as the "index case", the woman was detected when she visited a general practitioner clinic on July 11 with acute respiratory infection symptoms.
She was taken to a hospital after testing positive.
Some of the Covid-19 cases in the cluster lived with her in the same household.
Authorities discovered that the woman had frequented many KTV outlets after starting epidemiological investigations and contact tracing.
Possible illegal activities investigated
Police investigations into possible illegal activities within this KTV cluster are ongoing.
The cluster grew to 88 cases on July 15.
The statement added: “If the investigations show any criminal offence on the part of these foreigners, ICA and MOM will take firm action against them, including cancelling their work pass, student’s pass or visit pass, and deport them.”
Employers who illegally employ these pass holders or abet them in illegal employment may face a fine of S$5,000 to S$30,000, up to 12 years’ jail, or both.
Their work pass privileges may also be suspended.
Police are also investigating the pivoted outlets that Covid-19 cases had visited and if any criminal offences have been committed and safe management measures breached.
Background on familial ties lane
Eligible travellers under the familial ties lane include immediate family member, relative, fiance or fiancee of a Singaporean or permanent resident, according to ICA's SafeTravel website.
They can be holders of a valid work pass, a student's pass or hold an in-principle approval (IPA) of a student's pass.
Former student's pass holders returning to Singapore to fulfil their scholarship obligations are also eligible.
Other eligible travellers under the familial ties lane include a permanent resident IPA holder, an ICA-issued long-term visit pass IPA holder or an adopted child of a Singaporean or PR holding an IPA dependent pass.
Top photo via Club De Zara