Coronavirus: About 600 workers approved for return to Singapore

 Passengers wearing face masks walk inside the transit area of Changi Airport Terminal 3 on Feb 12, 2020.
Passengers wearing face masks walk inside the transit area of Changi Airport Terminal 3 on Feb 12, 2020.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Around 600 work pass holders who travelled to China have been given the go-ahead to enter Singapore.

A Ministry of Manpower (MOM) spokesman said yesterday that it has approved about 200 applications a day since new entry rules for these workers kicked in after 11.59pm last Saturday.

Priority is given to those working in essential services such as healthcare, transport and waste management, so that operations in these sectors are not compromised, he added.

Other factors the ministry considers include whether employers have arranged for suitable housing for returning workers to serve the mandatory 14-day leave of absence (LOA), and the need to stagger the entry of workers to "manage their return in an orderly manner".

The ministry had announced last Friday that all work pass holders with travel history to mainland China in the last 14 days need to get its approval three days before their planned entry into Singapore.

The ministry would give an approval letter, which the worker must show to airline staff at check-in and at the immigration checkpoint when they arrive in Singapore.

The rule applies regardless of nationality, and also to in-principle approval (IPA) holders who have not entered Singapore yet, as well as individuals holding dependant's or long-term-visit passes issued by the ministry.

It also said it might revoke work passes or withdraw related privileges from employers or workers who do not comply with the new requirements.

The measures were announced after Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said last Thursday that most of the 30,000 Chinese nationals holding work passes who left for the Chinese New Year holidays had yet to return to Singapore.

Members of the public can report those who flout the LOA requirements to mom_qops@mom.gov.sg or call 6438-5122. Employers who need help to get accommodation for their employees can e-mail the same address or call 1800-333-9999.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2020, with the headline 'About 600 workers approved for return to Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe