Coronavirus: S’poreans, Malaysians at land, sea crossings not affected by border curbs on Asean states

Travellers entering Singapore by land or sea will be excluded from the border restrictions announced on March 15, 2020. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Singaporeans and Malaysians travelling into Singapore from Malaysia via sea or land will be exempted from the new border restrictions on Asean countries, due to the close proximity and high inter-dependency between the two neighbours.

But separate arrangements for precautions are being worked out by a bilateral joint working group, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said on Sunday (March 15).

The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Sunday announced that from 11.59pm on Monday, all travellers - including Singapore citizens, permanent residents, long-term pass holders, and short-term visitors - entering Singapore with recent travel history to Asean countries, Japan, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom within the last 14 days will be issued a 14-day stay-home notice (SHN).

But Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling the coronavirus outbreak, said such restrictions on those coming in from Malaysia would be complex.

He noted that 300,000 people move across the land crossings at the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints alone on a daily basis.

"We do have to put in place some special considerations for Malaysia because of the close proximity and the high inter-dependency between our two countries," said Mr Wong.

"So for now, the arrangements which I just described will not apply to our sea and land crossings with Malaysia."

Malaysia reported 190 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, with most linked to a religious event at a mosque that was attended by more than 10,000 people from several countries.

The new cases bring the total number of infections in the country to 428.

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Lawrence Wong announced that all Singaporeans are advised to defer non-essential travel abroad. Short term visitors from ASEAN countries must submit a health declaration before intended travel date, except Malaysians travelling from land and sea.

Mr Wong added: "We do need precautions to be taken at these checkpoints, but it is going to be more complex, given the high volume of people moving in and out of these checkpoints.

"We want precautions to be taken there, and so separate arrangements are being worked out by the bilateral joint working group we have with Malaysia."

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