Forum: Provide greater clarity on how places are categorised in border measures

I refer to the Ministry of Health's announcement over the weekend, allowing travellers from six countries to enter Singapore (S'pore to resume travel from South Asia, eases measures for those from Malaysia, Indonesia, Oct 24).

Singapore classifies countries and regions into four categories (I to IV) based on their Covid-19 situation and risk profile with increasingly stricter health border control measures imposed on countries in the higher categories.

Travellers from Category II countries are allowed to serve seven days, and Category III countries 10 days, of stay-home notice (SHN) at a declared place of accommodation. Those entering from Category IV countries will have to serve a 10-day SHN at a dedicated facility with costs borne by the travellers.

Based on the classification, one would expect that a country or region in a lower category should have a lower risk profile compared with another in a higher category.

One would also expect that the likely measures used to assess risk profile would be the recent total number of Covid-19 cases or deaths per million of population, and perhaps the vaccination rates of the population.

However, a quick analysis and comparison of these likely measures of some places in different categories do not seem to justify the inclusion of some countries in their respective categories.

Using data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, for example, Covid-19 deaths per million and Covid-19 cases per million in the past week or past month for Bulgaria (in Category II) are higher than those for Hungary (in Category III).

This is also the case for the United States, in Category II, and Kazakhstan, which is in Category IV.

Greater clarity on the criteria used to determine the risk profile of countries and regions in the different categories is important.

This will provide better information for travellers who can then plan their trips in and out of Singapore. These trips are not only for leisure but also for business purposes which will have economic implications for the Singapore economy.

Can the authorities explain the criteria by which countries and regions are categorised?

Hui Weng Tat

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