More returning Singaporeans will have to serve their 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) at dedicated facilities instead of in their homes, as part of new measures to reduce the risk of Covid-19 community transmission.
From 11.59pm today, the rule will extend to Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders returning from Asean countries, India, France and Switzerland, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday.
Currently, the requirement is only for those returning from the United States and Britain.
All returnees are 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.
The countries identified were based on the ministry's assessment of risks and the history of imported cases in Singapore, said MOH, adding that the move was to protect Singaporeans and reduce the risk of community transmission from imported cases.
Those returning from other countries have to serve their 14-day notice at home and are not allowed to step out during this time.
The dedicated SHN facilities do not just provide hotel rooms.
"We also work with the hotel operators to provide training for their staff, and to put in place proper security arrangements, as well as infection control and precautions," said the MOH.
It takes time to get such facilities ready, and Singapore does not at present have enough to accommodate all returnees, it added.
"Therefore, based on the current capacity, we have prioritised the facilities for returnees from these specific countries," said MOH.
It added that the multi-ministry task force will continue to monitor the evolving Covid-19 situation, and work closely with the private sector to adjust Singapore's capacity of SHN facilities accordingly.
Meanwhile, 22 Singapore residents yesterday safely arrived in Singapore from Kathmandu, Nepal, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
The Singapore residents had boarded a repatriation flight arranged by the Malaysian government for its nationals from Kathmandu to Kuala Lumpur, and they subsequently returned to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur, MFA said.
Said an MFA spokesman: "The Singapore Government would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Malaysian government and the Embassy of Malaysia in Kathmandu for accepting our request to help accommodate the Singapore residents on the flight back from Nepal."
MOH's latest announcement is the latest to pre-empt escalating coronavirus infections.
From Tuesday, most workplaces will be closed and all schools will be closed from Wednesday.