Indians urged to avoid non-essential travel to Singapore

India issued a fresh travel advisory on Saturday asking citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Singapore as part of attempts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The advisory comes after one last month that asked people to refrain from travelling to China.

Separately, Indonesia said yesterday it had barred some foreigners - including those from Singapore - from entering in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.

India's new advisory, which is expected to curtail tourist inflow into Singapore, also noted that passengers on incoming flights from Kathmandu, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia will be screened for symptoms.

India is among the top sources of international arrivals to Singapore and accounted for more than 1.4 million visitors last year.

"It will definitely have an impact but it is difficult to say right away to what extent," Mr Pronab Sarkar, president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, told The Straits Times.

"There is an ongoing slowdown of tourist outflow not just to Singapore but also other countries," he said. "So the impact, if any, will become clearer during the summer holiday season from May to June."

India announced on Feb 13 that passengers on all direct incoming flights from Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Thailand would undergo screening. Such a measure has been in place for passengers from China and Hong Kong since last month.

India screens passengers at 21 international airports as well as some major sea ports. It has already checked nearly 400,000 flight passengers and around 10,000 travellers at sea ports.

The country has reported three confirmed coronavirus cases - all of those infected were students from the southern Indian state of Kerala studying in China. They have been discharged after recovering fully, with the last of the three going home last Friday. But this figure does not include infected Indian citizens abroad, including 12 who were on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship now moored in Yokohama.

Meanwhile, Indonesia said yesterday 118 foreigners, including two from Singapore, had been barred from entering the country during the period from Feb 5 to 23. "Among the reasons for the refusal is that the foreigners had stayed or transited in mainland China for 14 days," Mr Arvin Gumilang, Indonesia's immigration office spokesman, said.

  • Additional reporting by Linda Yulisman
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2020, with the headline 'Citizens urged to avoid non-essential travel to Singapore'. Subscribe