Coronavirus: Stay-home notices clearly state period starts from day of return, says ICA

Several travellers arriving at Changi Airport have said it was not clear to them when their 14-day stay-home notice period starts. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has said that it is clearly stated in stay-home notice forms that the period starts the day of one's return to Singapore.

People issued with this notice are also required to acknowledge the notice, including the requirements set out, which includes how the notice takes immediate effect, the ICA told The Straits Times.

Several travellers arriving at Changi Airport have said it was not clear to them when their 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) period starts.

Among them was Mr Alan Tham, 33, who posted photos of a bak kut teh meal he had after he returned from Myanmar, although he had been issued an SHN.

He told The Straits Times on Wednesday (March 25) that an airport official had told him the notice started the day after he arrived. He then decided to head out for dinner and shop for groceries.

The Attorney-General's Chambers has since said it is likely to charge him over the case.

On Thursday, a healthcare worker who had arrived from Sydney at 9pm said she was told that her notice started the next day.

The 37-year-old woman, who wanted to be known as Ms Lee, said that if she had not read news reports about Mr Tham, she, too, might have gone out that evening instead of heading straight home to start her SHN.

"It is worrying because many passengers from the flight were young people, probably students, who might not verify the information and just take it as it is," she told ST.

Mushroom farmer William Leong, 56, who had flown in from Thailand on March 21, said he was told by an officer that his SHN would start the next day.

"I asked him what I should do today and he said I was free to do whatever I wanted until it kicked in the next day," said Mr Leong who "happily" made plans to head out for dinner.

But he said his wife was sceptical about this. He later called the Ministry of Manpower hotline to double check the information.

"That's when I realised it was wrong. Thankfully, I didn't go out and eat bak kut teh," he said.

Since March 20, all travellers including Singapore residents entering the country have been issued 14-day SHNs.

Upon arrival, travellers have to read the notice form, give their name and contact details and sign to acknowledge the requirements of the order.

The form states that the isolation period starts the day the person arrives.

ST understands that ICA has also reminded its officers to communicate the SHN requirements to travellers better.

The ICA also said it has worked with Changi Airport Group to put in place safe distancing measures such as queue markers at some immigration halls, and to close alternate automated immigration lanes.

The article has been updated for clarity.

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