Wuhan virus: Repatriation cases will be handled by airlines

Airlines will usually engage a ground-handling agent who will coordinate the repatriation process.
Airlines will usually engage a ground-handling agent who will coordinate the repatriation process.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

ICA has stopped issuing visas to those with PRC passports issued in Hubei

Passengers denied entry into Singapore and stuck at Changi Airport as a result of the latest travel measures, and show no symptoms of illness, will be treated in the same way as travellers who are refused entry into the country for other reasons, such as visa-related issues.

They will be handed over to the relevant airline's staff handling repatriations, The Straits Times understands.

Airlines will usually engage a ground-handling agent who will coordinate the repatriation process.

From noon today, all new visitors with recent travel history to Hubei within 14 days, or those who have People's Republic of China (PRC) passports issued in Hubei, will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore.

This is part of a slew of enhanced measures announced yesterday by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to tackle the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus here.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has already suspended the issuance of all forms of new visas to those with PRC passports issued in Hubei.

Previously issued short-term visit passes and multiple-visit visas, as well as visa-free transit facilities, for those with PRC passports issued in Hubei, have also been suspended.

"While there is currently no evidence of community spread here, this group poses a heightened risk to Singapore," said the ministry.

MOH said information has already been disseminated to airlines, which are expected to inform their passengers of the new travel restrictions and should check passengers' visas before flying them over.

Standard procedures for detecting suspect cases will apply to those who show symptoms of infection, including referring them to nursing stations set up at the airport. Suspected cases may be referred to hospitals for further assessment.

MOH emphasised that quarantine orders have legal force. Those who do not comply may be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to six months, or both, for the first offence.

Other measures have also been put in place to tackle the virus.


The Ministry of Manpower, for one, is rejecting all new work pass applications for foreign workers from Hubei until further notice.

In addition, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Home Affairs said that all non-essential travel for Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and Home Team personnel to mainland China will be deferred.

All SAF and Home Team pre-enlistees who had travelled to China will have to take a mandatory Leave of Absence if they are due for enlistment.

For NSmen who have travelled to China, deferment will be applied if they are due for in-camp training, and their Individual Physical Proficiency Test and Health Screening Programme appointments will be rescheduled.

As of noon yesterday, seven people here were confirmed to have been infected with the virus. Ninety-one suspect cases have tested negative. Test results for the remaining 72 cases are pending.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 29, 2020, with the headline 'Repatriation cases will be handled by airlines'. Print Edition | Subscribe