The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced updated border control measures for travellers arriving from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe on Nov. 26.
MOH said that it will tighten border control measures for travellers with travel history to these countries in response to the deteriorating situation in the above countries.
10-day SHN for travellers from these countries
From Nov. 27 at 11:59pm, the following border restrictions will take effect:
- All long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or transit through Singapore. This restriction will apply to those who have obtained prior approval for entry into Singapore.
- Returning Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents will be subjected to a 10-day SHN at a SHN-Dedicated Facility (SDF).
- South Africa will be placed in Category IV.
These additional border restrictions will apply for four weeks in the first instance, after which MOH will review and extend the restrictions if necessary.
MOH added, while the variant has been suggested to be more transmissible, there is currently insufficient evidence to determine if this variant is associated with any change in disease severity, antibody response or vaccine efficacy.
These aspects are being investigated and MOH will evaluate the data as it emerges and review the border measures accordingly.
For more information and updates on border measures, you can visit the SafeTravel website.
Potentially more contagious Covid-19 variant
Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe are currently Category IV countries and arriving travellers with recent travel history to these countries are currently required to serve a 10-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at dedicated SHN facilities.
South Africa is currently a Category II country and arriving travellers from South Africa are subjected to a seven-day SHN at their declared place of accommodation.
According to MOH's press release, border control measures for travellers to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe will be tightened due to recent reports of a potentially more contagious variant of the Covid-19 virus, the B.1.1.529 which may be circulating in these countries.
Scientific research about the new variant of virus, such as whether it is more transmissible than the Delta variant, whether it is more likely to lead to severe illnesses, and efficacy of existing vaccines against this new variant, remains ongoing.
Singapore currently has no cases of this variant and will take necessary precautions to reduce the risks of spread of B.1.1.529 to Singapore, MOH said.
Top image by Captureson Photography on Unsplash.
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