Coronavirus: All returnees to serve stay-home notice at dedicated facilities

All returnees will be transported straight from the airport to the hotels. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

From 11.59pm today, all travellers returning to Singapore from overseas will have to serve their 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) at dedicated facilities, such as hotels, instead of in their homes.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced yesterday that the rule has now been extended to all Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders, regardless of the country they are coming from.

Returnees will be transported straight from the airport to the hotels. There, they have their own rooms and toilets, and all meals are provided, so that they can be isolated from others.

"This is a further expansion of our enhanced SHN requirements for travellers returning to Singapore," MOH said.

The rule was first applied to only those returning from the United States and Britain to curb the rising importation of Covid-19. On Sunday, it was expanded to include those returning from Asean countries, India, France and Switzerland.

"We have since stepped up capacity and are now able to accommodate fresh returnees from all countries," the ministry said yesterday.

Most of the new imported cases since March 25 have involved travellers who were required to serve SHN. Of the 230 imported cases between March 25 and April 7, 151 cases - or about two-thirds - were issued SHNs upon their arrival.

The remaining 79 cases had come from countries that had not been required to serve SHN.

MOH said yesterday that if there are unexpected capacity constraints, such as a larger than expected number of returnees, it may prioritise the dedicated facilities for returnees from certain regions or countries, based on risk assessment.

"Returnees who are already back in Singapore will continue to serve their 14-day SHN at their current location," said the ministry.

"As was earlier announced, all returnees who disregarded prevailing travel advisories and left Singapore from March 27 would be required to bear the full cost of their 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities."

Singapore saw its first case of Covid-19 in late January and as of yesterday, there have been 559 imported cases out of a total of 1,623 confirmed cases.

On Tuesday, two Singaporean men were charged with offences under the Infectious Diseases Act for allegedly breaching their SHN.

Both have indicated they intend to plead guilty to their charges. They will be back in court next Thursday. If convicted, they can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2020, with the headline Coronavirus: All returnees to serve stay-home notice at dedicated facilities. Subscribe