Singapore tightens curbs for those with travel history to Sabah

The Sandakan Sports Complex in Sabah being prepared as a Covid-19 treatment centre, as infections surge across the East Malaysian state. PHOTO: BERNAMA

Travellers with recent travel history to Sabah will be required to serve a 14-day stay-home notice (SHN), Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) announced yesterday.

Other measures affecting travellers were also announced as part of the multi-ministry task force's regular review of the risk of importation and onward local transmission from travellers.

Given the recent increase in cases in the Malaysian state, all travellers entering Singapore from 11.59pm tomorrow with a travel history in the past 14 days to Sabah will have to serve the 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities.

The measure will also apply to returning Singapore-based travellers under the Reciprocal Green Lane scheme as well as Malaysian citizens and permanent residents entering Singapore under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement.

MOH added that it will continue monitoring the situation in other parts of Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya.

Any visitor with recent travel history to Indonesia or the Philippines who is not a Singapore citizen or permanent resident will have to present a valid negative Covid-19 test to enter or transfer through Singapore.

This will take effect from next Monday, 11.59pm.

To reduce the importation of cases from these countries, travellers have to take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction test within 72 hours before departure. They will still be required to serve a 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities and present a negative Covid-19 test before the end of their SHN.

The multi-ministry task force also announced an easing of measures for some other places.

As the situation in Hong Kong has improved, it will be added to the list of low-risk countries or regions, which include China and Taiwan.

Travellers from Hong Kong will be allowed to serve a reduced seven-day SHN at their place of residence, instead of 14 days at dedicated SHN facilities. This takes effect from tomorrow, 11.59pm.

MOH also said that the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority will be lifting visa suspension and resume the issuance of new visas.

Short-term visitors who require a visa to enter Singapore can apply for one through a local contact, Singapore overseas mission or authorised visa agent from Sunday, 11.59pm.

Visitors who have already been issued visas which are still valid, as well as those who are eligible for visa-free transit facility, do not need to reapply.

However, the possession of a valid visa alone will not guarantee entry into Singapore. All short-term visitors are required to seek prior approval through appropriate Covid-19 travel channels, such as obtaining a SafeTravel Pass under green lane arrangements, to enter Singapore.

Covid-19 testing will also be made more accessible for travellers, said MOH.

The ministry plans to increase the number of clinics and providers which can administer the test beyond about 150 clinics that provide pre-departure testing. Laboratories, clinics and swab service providers can apply to MOH for approval.

Individuals who have been approved to take such tests via the SafeTravel website will be able to make an appointment with the expanded list of approved clinics and providers.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2020, with the headline S'pore tightens curbs for those with travel history to Sabah. Subscribe