In the most drastic move by the Singapore authorities so far, Singapore is going to bar visitors from the whole of China from tomorrow (1 February 2020), 11:59pm onwards.
And that includes anyone who’s been to China (any part of China) in the last 14 days.
Here’s what you should know about this latest restriction.
Singapore Barring Visitors from the Whole of China from Tomorrow 11.59pm
Lest you’re not aware, the number of infected patients with Wuhan virus worldwide is about 10,000.
Over in China, there has been a whopping 9,782 cases and 213 deaths. Here in Singapore, there has been 13 confirmed cases.
This morning, WHO finally declared the Wuhan virus outbreak a global health emergency—something that they’ve hesitated to do so in the last two weeks. Currently, the risk assessment for China is at “Very High” while the global level is “High”.
While there hasn’t been any community transmission in Singapore (i.e. people who got infected in Singapore), the authorities here aren’t taking any chances.
Three days ago, on 28 January 2020, Singapore announced a ban for Chinese visitors from Hubei from 29 January 2020 onwards—anyone who has been to Hubei, or has a Hubei passport, would be denied entry to Singapore. Those who live or work in Singapore and are coming back would be quarantined for 14 days even if they don’t have any symptoms.
And now, the “ban” has been extended to the whole of China.
Just like the previous ban on Hubei, anyone who has a China passport will be denied entry to Singapore. If a person has been to China in the last 14 days, he or she will be denied entry as well.
This ban also applies to travellers on transit.
According to Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, “These additional travel restrictions on top of all that we have already introduced over the past few days will enable us to limit the number of new cases here and to reduce the risk of community spread in Singapore.”
Now, before any xenophobic person claims that his “lobbying” on Facebook has worked (seriously, dude?), Mr Wong emphasized that it’s not about nationality. He added, “The motivation is the origins of the virus and that beyond Hubei, the virus is now spreading to other parts of China – as we have said, there is assessment that this is happening.”
No doubt this is going to hit our economy hard: if we exclude our neighbours like Indonesia and Malaysia, China tourists contribute 11% to our tourism market.
But hey: better safe than sorry, eh?
But what if you’re a Chinese national and works in Singapore, and are on your way back to Singapore? Or if you’re a Singaporean who’s coming back from China?
SOP for Returning People
If you’re returning from China to Singapore, then you’d have to quarantine yourself for 14 days.
This includes Singaporeans who have been to China in the last 14 days.
Now you know why so many quarantine zones are set up: Singapore’s always prepared for the worst, and the worst is here.
Actually, no. Not yet.
Mr Wong has this to add: “The situation remains fluid, it is constantly changing. We do not rule out taking further measures.”