Coronavirus: Singapore residents who travel overseas may face consequences as Govt ramps up border controls

People wearing face masks at the check-in counters at the departure hall of Changi Airport Terminal 3, on Feb 12, 2020. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
A thermal scanner at Jewel Changi Airport on March 21, 2020. The Government is considering measures against those who choose to travel overseas despite the border control measures. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - Those who choose to travel abroad despite travel advisories may face consequences in the near future, said the Government on Sunday (March 22).

The Government is considering measures against those who choose to travel overseas despite the border control measures, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong at a briefing on Sunday.

"I don't think we can allow this to continue. We are discussing what additional measures may be needed," he said, adding that work pass holders who leave Singapore at this time may face the consequence of not being allowed entry later.

Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force set up to deal with the coronavirus situation, made the comments as he announced measures to "significantly tighten" Singapore's borders in the light of the rapidly escalating virus outbreak around the world.

"We don't know the reasons (why people continue to travel), it may well be (that) they have very exceptional reasons to travel, but we do not want to see a third wave of imported cases from returning Singaporeans," he added.

"We are already having to digest this wave of returning Singaporeans now, I think if we experience third (or) fourth recurring waves of imported cases, it will be very, very challenging," Mr Wong said, referring to the influx of imported coronavirus cases here from those returning from abroad this week.

The MOH said that in Singapore, almost 80 per cent of new Covid-19 cases over the past three days were imported, most of them Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning home from abroad.

These imported cases had travel histories to 22 different countries.

Most of these new patients in Singapore have been imported cases, that is, returning residents and long-term pass holders with travel history to Europe, North America, South-east Asia and other parts of Asia.

As announced previously, all Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders returning to Singapore are required to complete a 14-day stay-home notice (SHN). Those under SHN must remain in their place of residence at all times.

"With all of these measures which are designed to keep Singaporeans and Singapore safe... the objective cannot be achieved with Government measures alone," Mr Wong said. "We do need everyone to take responsibility, to step up and do their part."

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