Ultimate List of Progressive Measures Made by S’pore Since the First COVID-19 Case to Now

When reports of a mysterious new respiratory illness spreading in Wuhan first emerged, the Singaporean government sprang into action, much like Superman finding the nearest phone booth when he saw someone in trouble.

(Though one wonders why he wasted precious time changing into a ridiculous outfit when someone out there was being attacked).

Image: Giphy

You see, the reason why everyone is praising Singapore’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic at the moment is that we were incredibly well-prepared and introduced precautionary measures while other countries were still having a smoke and sipping their lattes.

Before the first Covid-19 case was even reported in our country, the Singapore government had already taken several preemptive steps.

Here’s a list of all the preventive measures the authorities have implemented since the first Covid-19 case.

2nd Jan 

  • Cluster of severe pneumonia cases in Wuhan city, Hubei Province, China emerges
  • MOH alerts all medical practitioners to look out for suspected cases with pneumonia who have recently returned from Wuhan
  • Suspect cases with travel history to Wuhan within 14 days before onset of symptoms isolated as a precautionary measure to prevent transmission

3rd Jan

  • Temperature screening at airport for inbound travellers arriving on flights from Wuhan
  • Suspected cases to be referred to hospitals for further assessment
  • Health advisory posters for all travellers will be put up at Changi Airport and provided to all inbound travelers on flights from Wuhan.

20th Jan

  • Suspect cases with coronavirus symptoms and travel history to Wuhan within 14 days before onset of symptoms isolated in hospital as a precautionary measure to prevent transmission and investigated
  • MOH and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) develop joint clinical guidance on the coronavirus which advises on the management of suspect cases

22nd Jan

  • All suspect cases coronavirus symptoms and travel history to China or been to any hospital in China within 14 days before onset of symptoms to be isolated in hospital
  • Expansion of temperature screening at Changi Airport to all inbound travellers on flights arriving from China
  • Multi-ministry taskforce set up to combat the coronavirus

23rd Jan

  • First coronavirus case in Singapore confirmed
  • MOH advises Singaporeans to avoid travelling to Hubei Province
  • MOH initiates contact tracing, quarantines close contacts of patient

24th Jan

  • Temperature screening to begin at all sea checkpoints
  • Preschools requested to obtain travel declarations for all children and staff their centre

27th Jan 

  • MOH advises travellers to defer all non-essential travel to Mainland China
  • Preschools asked to implement a Leave of Absence (LOA) of 14 days for employees and preschool children returning from Mainland China

28th Jan

  • Quarantines for all travellers with recent Hubei travel history within the last 14 days, including citizens, residents, and long-term pass holders

29th Jan

  •  All visitors with recent Hubei travel history within the last 14 days, or those with PRC passports issued in Hubei barred from entering or transiting through Singapore
  • All visas issued to those with PRC passports issued in Hubei suspended immediately
  • Previously issued visas to those with PRC passports issued in Hubei also suspended

31st Jan

  • MOM to reject all new work pass applications for foreign workers from mainland China

1st Feb

  • All new visitors with recent travel history to mainland China within the last 14 days barred from entering or transiting through Singapore
  • All visas issued to those with PRC passports suspended immediately
  • Previously issued visas to those with PRC passports suspended
  • Returning residents and long-term pass holders with travel history in mainland China to be placed on a 14-day leave of absence on day of their return
  • Government issues four surgical masks to all local Singapore households in public and private estates

3rd Feb

  • Temperature screening and health checks implemented in preschools

4th Feb

  • Large communal activities in all schools suspended, recess times staggered, CCAs and after-school programmes to continue in smaller groups
  • Frequency of temperature taking for children and staff in preschools to be increased
  •  14-day Leave of Absence for children with any household member who is on Home Quarantine Order

7th Feb

  • Risk assessment raised to DORSCON orange
  • Event organisers advised to cancel or defer non-essential large-scale events
  • Employers asked to ensure their employees conduct regular temperature-taking and check whether they have coronavirus symptoms
  • Employers asked to allow telecommuting for employees or to divide workforce into segregated teams
  • MOH implements  temperature screening and closer controls of entry points into the hospitals
  • Schools to suspend inter-school and external activities till the end of the March school holidays
  • Preschools and social/ eldercare services to limit the number of visitors to their premises
  • Blood donors to be screened for coronavirus symptoms as well as travel history – those who have travelled to Mainland China in the last 14 days not be allowed to enter the premises

10th Feb

  • Taxi and PHC operators told to step up the cleaning and disinfection of their vehicles, take temperature twice a day, and to wind down their vehicles’ windows when ferrying passengers with flu-like symptoms and after every completed trip to improve ventilation in their vehicles

14th Feb

  • Re-activation of 900 Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) – subsidies provided for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Resident diagnosed with respiratory illnesses
  • Doctors advised to provide medical certificates of five days for their patients with respiratory symptoms

18th Feb

  • New “Stay-Home Notice” (SHN) issued to Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning to Singapore from mainland China (outside of Hubei)
  • SHN mandates that one has to remain in their place of residence at all times during the 14-day period
  • SHN also issued to returning workers from mainland China on work passes

23rd Feb

  • Travellers advised to defer non-essential travel to Daegu and Cheongdo
  • Definition of suspect cases will be expanded to include persons with pneumonia or severe respiratory infection with breathlessness who had been to Daegu and/or Cheongdo of the Republic of Korea, within 14 days before onset of symptoms

26th Feb

  • All new visitors with recent travel history to Daegu and Cheongdo within the last 14 days denied entry in or transit through Singapore
  • Returning residents and long-term pass holders with recent travel history to Daegu and Cheongdo within the last 14 days issued SHNs

3rd March

  • Singaporeans advised to defer non-essential travel to Iran, northern Italy, Japan, and the Republic of Korea

4th March

  •  All new visitors with recent travel history to Iran, northern Italy or the Republic of Korea within the last 14 days denied entry into or transit through Singapore
  • ICA suspends the issuance of all forms of new visas to those with Iranian passports as well as previously issued visas
  • All returning residents and long-term visit pass holders with recent travel history to Iran, northern Italy, or the Republic of Korea within the last 14 days issued SHNs
  • Travellers entering Singapore exhibiting fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness but who do not meet the clinical suspect case definition to undergo a COVID-19 swab test at the checkpoint
  •  Short-term visitors who are identified for testing but refuse to do so denied entry into Singapore

9th March

  • One-on-one checks on passengers on the cruise ship Costa Fortuna who have recent travel history to northern Italy within the last 14 days. Those who exhibit fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness will be conveyed directly to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases
  • All remaining passengers entering Singapore to undergo temperature screening as a precautionary measure. Those who exhibit fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness will be required to undergo a COVID-19 swab test
  • Passengers who are identified for COVID-19 swab testing but refuse to do so will not be allowed entry into Singapore

11th March

  • Suspension of senior-centric activities for 14 days – activities include those held at CCs, RCs, Senior Activity Centres, Active Ageing Hubs, CREST centres, Health Promotion Board and ActiveSG sport centres

12th March 

  • All air crew (pilots and cabin crew) and passengers on business aviation aircraft required to make a health declaration under the Infectious Diseases Act  before they are permitted to depart for Singapore

13th March

  • All mosques closed for five days for disinfection
  • Mosques to cancel all mosque activities, lectures, religious classes and mosque based kindergarten sessions for the next 2 weeks
  • Singaporeans advised to defer all non-essential travel to Italy, France, Spain and Germany

15th March

  • All new visitors with recent travel history to Italy, France, Spain and Germany within the last 14 days to be denied entry into or transit through Singapore
  • All returning residents and long-term pass holders with recent travel history to Italy, France, Spain and Germany within the last 14 days to be issued SHNs
  • Singapore to cease port calls for all cruise vessels
  • Event with 250 participants or more to be deferred or cancelled
  • Event with fewer than 250 participants advised to reduce crowding and to implement temperature and health screening measures
  • Employers to implement tele-commuting and video-conferencing where possible, as well as stagger work hours, and allow employees to commute at off-peak hours
  • Dining venues to set seats at least a metre apart
  • Entertainment venues, sports centres, and tourist attractions could limit the number of visitors at any one time, and/or increase spacing among visitors

16th March

  • All travellers entering Singapore with recent travel history to ASEAN countries, Japan, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom within the last 14 days to be issued with a 14-day SHNs
  • All short-term visitors who are nationals of any ASEAN country are to submit requisite information on their health to the Singapore Overseas Mission in the country they are resident before their intended date of travel so it can be approved
  • Singaporeans advised to defer all non-essential travel abroad

18th March 

  • Singaporeans advised to defer all travel abroad

20th March

  • All Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, Long Term Pass holders and short term visitors entering Singapore to be issued a 14-day SHNs
  • All new and existing work pass holders (including dependants) planning to enter/return to Singapore from any country are to obtain MOM’s approval before they commence their journey
  • 14-day Leave of Absence (LOA) issued to students and staff of schools, preschools and student care centres who have returned from overseas on or after 14 March
  • Suspension of co-curricular activities in schools
  • Fixed exam-style seating for primary 3 students and above, and fixed group cluster seating for primary 1 and 2 and MOE Kindergarten students
  • Wipe-down routine in classrooms
  • Assigned seating and wipe-down routine in canteens
  • Assigned play areas for students to play in reduced group sizes

20th March

  • Suspension of all events and gatherings with 250 or more participants
  • Queues (e.g. outside restaurants, at retail stores) should be kept fast-moving
  • Operators encouraged to demarcate queues to ensure patrons queue at least a metre apart from one another
  • Entertainment venues and attractions advised to adopt measures appropriate to their venue to ensure separation of at least a metre amongst patrons
  • Employers advised to facilitate telecommuting for their employees to work from home
  • Tele-conferencing to be used in place of physical meetings wherever possible
  • Introduction of staggered work hours, reduction of duration and proximity of physical interactions when telecommuting is not possible
  • Extension of suspension of senior-centric activities for two weeks

21st March

  • Foreign domestic workers (FDWs) advised to spend their rest day at home during this period. FDWs who have errands to attend to are encouraged to take their rest day on a weekday, when public spaces are less crowded

23rd March

  • All short-term visitors (from anywhere in the world) will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore

24th March

  • All bars and entertainment venues like night clubs, discos, cinemas, theatres, and karaoke outlets will be closed
  • Groups must not exceed 10 persons in other public venues such as retail malls, museums and attractions
  • Shows within attractions (indoor and outdoor), group tours at the museums, and open atrium sales events will be suspended
  • Organised tours in public venues (e.g., sightseeing or guided walking tours) will be suspended
  • Groups of diners should also be limited to 10 persons or fewer
  • Patrons of eating establishments with fixed seating – for example, hawker centres and coffee shops – must use alternate seats
  • All centre-based tuition and enrichment classes will be suspended
  • All religious services and congregations will be suspended – places of worship (e.g. temples, mosques, churches) may remain open for private worship and essential rites, subject to group sizes of 10 persons or fewer at any one time
  •  All events and mass gatherings (e.g. conferences, exhibitions, festivals, concerts, sporting events, trade fairs) must be deferred or cancelled, regardless of size
  • Singaporeans advised to avoid holding and participating in social events and gatherings involving more than 10 persons at any one time, including weddings and birthdays
  • For funerals and wakes, attendance should be limited as far as possible to family members only, and gatherings of 10 or fewer people at any one point
  • Extension of suspension of activities for seniors to 30 April 2020
  • Residents and Long Term Pass holders who leave Singapore from 27 March 2020 will be charged at unsubsidised rates for their inpatient stay at public hospitals, if they are admitted for suspected COVID-19 and have onset of symptoms within 14 days of returning to Singapore
  • Any work pass holder or his/her dependant who leaves Singapore from 27 March 2020 will be deprioritised for entry approval
  • Setting up of Community Isolation Facility at D’Resort NTUC with maximum capacity of about 500 persons for recovering Covid-19 patients
  • Mosques to be closed until further notice
  • All travellers entering Singapore must submit a health declaration before proceeding with immigration clearance from 27 March 2020

Yes, it’s a list longer than my list of failures, but this is the reason why we’ve managed to slow down the rate of infection in the country.

But remember, we all have to do our part. Continue to maintain good hygiene, practise social distancing, and see a doctor if you’re unwell.

Let’s hope that things will return to normal sooner rather than later.

This Singapore love story set in the 90s shows you why you should never wait for tomorrow. Watch it without crying:
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This Singapore love story set in the 90s shows you why you should never wait for tomorrow. Watch it without crying: