Singapore has been reporting a few new COVID-19 confirmed cases daily, but lest you’re not aware, it’s chaos outside of Singapore.
South Korea now has over 5,000 cases, Italy has over 2,000 cases and Iran has over 1,500.
Almost every country has reported a case, including Indonesia, which just reported its first two cases yesterday.
And that wasn’t the case two weeks ago. Back on 19 February 2020, South Korea has only 51 cases while Italy has mere 3 cases.
Let’s not look at Iran’s numbers, shall we?
This is why the authorities have put in a travel ban for travellers from South Korea, Northern Italy & Iran.
Everything About the S’pore Travel Ban for People Who’ve Been to South Korea, Northern Italy & Iran
I know what you’re thinking the moment you read the headline: Is it the whole of South Korea? Even people from Seoul?
Yes, my fellow Crash Landing on You fan. The whole of South Korea.
Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, who is also co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce for COVID-19, made the announcement today.
It’s one of the additional precautions the authorities is taking to help reduce the risk of imported cases in Singapore.
He also warned of new spikes in Singapore due to the global trend.
He added, “…the virus is spreading quickly around the world and there are likely to be many undetected cases in countries that are not undertaking proactive testing. So we will be exposed to new waves of infection and increasingly it will not be possible to stop the virus at our borders.
“We also cannot isolate Singapore and shut ourselves from the world. So despite our best efforts, we have to be prepared for new spikes in COVID-19 cases in Singapore, as has happened elsewhere.”
In other words, while all our latest cases are all community spread within Singapore, the minister warns that what happened in January might resurface again; whereby most of the cases are imported cases as there are undetected cases overseas.
For a start, Iranians require visas to enter Singapore, so the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will stop issuing all forms of new visas to people with Iranian passports with immediate effect.
As South Koreans and Italians can enter Singapore without a visa, they would be blocked from entering Singapore—similar to the China ban.
Do note that this applies to anyone who’s been to Iran, South Korea or Northern Italy in the last 14 days; so even if you’re a citizen there but haven’t been to any of the countries before, you can still enter, because the virus isn’t racist.
This will take effect from 4 March 2020, 11:59pm.
Now, how about your Singaporean friends who are coming back from a South Korea vacation?
People Re-entering Need to Fulfil Stay-Home Notice
If you’re returning to Singapore from one of the above-mentioned countries because you’re a Singaporean, Singapore PR or has a long-term pass in Singapore, you’d be issued a 14-day Stay-Home Notice, whereby you’d have to stay at home for the next 14 days.
FYI, you can’t even go out to buy food for an SHN.
People Who’ve Been to the Countries to be Treated as Suspect Cases if they Exhibit COVID-19 Symptoms
Now, even if you’re back from South Korea, do stay vigilant…although the authorities are also keeping an eye on you like a hawk.
Anyone who’s been to these countries (I’m listing everything down for easy reference because another country is also included here) and has pneumonia or severe respiratory infection with breathlessness will be treated as a suspect case:
- South Korea
- Northern Italy
The authorities still have more tricks up their sleeves.
New Screening System in Checkpoints
From tomorrow onwards, anyone who’s entering Singapore would have to undergo a COVID-19 swab test at the checkpoint if they have a fever or any other respiratory illness—even if you’ve come from a COVID-19-free planet like Mars.
Technically speaking, the results would only be out after three to six hours, so people are advised to minimise contact with others until they’re confirmed to be free of the virus.
And by the way, this is compulsory: foreigners who refused to take the test would be denied entry, while Singaporeans or Singapore PR can be prosecuted under the Infectious Diseases Act for not testing.
MOH added, “The COVID-19 swab test kit deployed at checkpoints allows us to test beyond persons who are referred to hospitals, and extend testing to lower-risk asymptomatic travellers as an added precautionary measure.
“This additional testing capability deployed upfront at checkpoints further increases our likelihood of detecting imported cases at the point of entry.
“As with any test, a negative result does not completely rule out the possibility of infection. As such, symptomatic travellers with a negative test result should continue to minimise social contact and seek medical attention should symptoms not improve over the next three days.”
Suffice to say, while Singapore seems to have contained the virus domestically, we’re doing even more to prevent new imported cases.
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