Coronavirus pandemic

Inbound travellers will have to pay for compulsory testing

Non-S'poreans, non-PRs must also foot bill if serving stay-home notice at dedicated facility

Passengers arriving at Changi Airport Terminal 1 last Friday. All travellers entering Singapore from 11.59pm on Wednesday will have to take a Covid-19 test before the end of their 14-day stay-home notice at a designated community testing facility. ST
Passengers arriving at Changi Airport Terminal 1 last Friday. All travellers entering Singapore from 11.59pm on Wednesday will have to take a Covid-19 test before the end of their 14-day stay-home notice at a designated community testing facility. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

All travellers entering Singapore from Thursday will have to take a Covid-19 test, and pay for it.

Those who are not Singaporeans or permanent residents will also have to foot the bill if they are required to serve their 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) at a dedicated facility like a hotel.

All travellers entering Singapore from 11.59pm on Wednesday will be subject to a compulsory Covid-19 test a few days before the end of their SHN, which they must pay for, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong yesterday during a virtual press conference.

A Covid-19 test can cost up to $200, while a 14-day stay at a dedicated SHN facility will cost $2,000.

Travellers may serve their 14-day SHN at home, instead of a dedicated facility, if they are coming from Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, mainland China, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan or Vietnam, and have been in that country or territory for the last consecutive 14 days before entering Singapore.

Singapore citizens and permanent residents in this group may serve their SHN at their place of residence, while long-term pass holders may serve theirs at a place of residence that they or their family members own or are sole tenants of, or accommodations like hotels.

All other travellers entering Singapore will continue to serve their SHN at dedicated facilities.

"Up to now, the cost of tests and SHN facilities have been borne by the Government," said Mr Wong. "But looking ahead, as we reopen for more travel, we will want to move to a more sustainable position."

All travellers entering Singapore from 11.59pm on Wednesday will have to take a Covid-19 test before the end of their SHN at a designated community testing facility.

They will receive information on the scheduled appointment slot and venue via an SMS notification, said the Ministry of Health in a statement yesterday.

They will have to travel from their place of residence to the testing facility and return immediately after the test, using their own private vehicle or designated transport. They should avoid public transport.

LOOKING AHEAD

Up to now, the cost of tests and SHN facilities have been borne by the Government... But looking ahead, as we reopen for more travel, we will want to move to a more sustainable position.

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT MINISTER LAWRENCE WONG, on getting travellers coming into Singapore to pay for their compulsory Covid-19 tests.

More details will be made available soon.

A test is not mandatory for outbound travellers, but should their destination country require them to take a test, they will have to bear the costs themselves.

The Government will also look at how it can facilitate business travel with the necessary safeguards, in particular for Singapore-based professionals who need to travel frequently as part of their work.

For now, short-term visitors are still not allowed, except those coming in under the green or fast-lane arrangements, or with special prior approval.

Earlier this month, Singapore agreed to resume essential business and official travel with China in a fast-lane agreement which will enable travellers from both sides to fly into each other's countries without serving quarantine periods of up to 14 days.

Instead, travellers must take a Covid-19 swab test 48 hours before departure and after they land.

They must also submit detailed itineraries, and the business organisations or government entities sponsoring them must file applications on their behalf.

Approved travellers coming into Singapore must download the TraceTogether app and cannot travel by public transport.

Similar rules will apply to Singapore travellers going to China.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said in a Facebook post yesterday that his ministry is prepared to consider appeals on a case-by-case basis for swab test arrangements in place of SHN for returning fast-lane users.

Appeals can be directed to COVID_STPOappeals@mti.gov.sg

Asked about the resumption of travel between Singapore and Malaysia, Mr Wong said green-lane arrangements for air travel are under discussion.

"With regards to the land crossing, that's more complicated because of the large volume of people that commuted every day between Singapore and Malaysia in the past," he added.

If travel across the Causeway or other land crossings were to resume, a combination of precautions including testing, as well as quarantine arrangements, would be required, he noted.

"We want... movement to resume but we also want this to be done in a safe and sustainable manner. So the exact protocols, the exact safeguards, the numbers of travellers that we can expect, all of these are details that are being discussed amongst the officials at this time."

Singaporeans and residents are still advised to defer all travel abroad.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 16, 2020, with the headline 'Inbound travellers will have to pay for compulsory testing'. Print Edition | Subscribe