Transport Minister Responds to Reports That Indian Nationals Are Allegedly Using a ‘Loophole’ to Enter S’pore

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Over a year ago, people in China were struggling to fight the coronavirus, the travel ban and the stigma of simply being born from a certain country.

Soon, that spread to other regions: to Italy, Spain, the UK, the US, Brazil and soon, to the entire world.

And now, India is at the receiving end: in the last 24 hours, the country set yet another record high, reporting 352,991 cases and 2,812 deaths. In total, India now has over 17 million cases, just behind the US on the total number of cases.

However, unlike the US whereby the number of cases has dropped since vaccination starts, the number of cases in India has risen exponentially:

It doesn’t help that a “double-mutant” vibrant is spreading there; you can read more about that here.

In a bid to prevent any cross-infection, Singapore tightened its border measures for India travellers: since 23 April 2021, 2359 hours, all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history (including transit) to India 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.

For citizens coming back from India, they’d have to serve a 21-day SHN instead of the usual 14-day SHN.

People from India Reportedly Going to Other Countries Before Heading to Singapore

According to The Online Citizen Asia, some people are discussing online on how to use a “loophole” to enter Singapore.

The idea is easy: simply head to another country for 14 days since the ban is on people who were in India for the last 14 days.

In the screenshots by The Online Citizen Asia from a Facebook group, a netizen even offered visa in Sri Lanka for 14 days and claimed that “many Indian nationals travel to Singapore like that”.

This afternoon, as our Transport Minister and future Health Minister Ong Ye Kung was announcing the Singapore-Hong Kong Travel Bubble, he was asked about this issue.

New and Old Risk Profile

Mr Ong said, “You may be from another country, but once you stay in a new country for a while, you assume a new risk profile.”

The policy isn’t to target Indian nationals, and he said that if it is to target them, then “something is wrong.”

Instead, it’s all about where you were in and not who you are.

He added, “But if your policy is to target risk, then for someone from a high-risk country to move to a lower risk country, stay there for some time, and after that remain non COVID-positive, remain negative, and then come to Singapore … they have lowered the risk in that process.”


Super Long Stay

Lest you’ve not done the maths, here’s the total number of days a person has to be isolated even if he or she uses the “loophole” to enter Singapore: he’d have to stay in another country for 14 days and an additional 14 days in quarantine in Singapore, which would’ve been a total of 28 days in isolation.

Today, as of 12pm, there are 43 imported cases, 1 community case and 1 dorm case.

Featured Image: Facebook (The Online Citizen Asia) & YouTube (The Straits Times)

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