Travellers entering Singapore to pay for Covid-19 tests

Passengers arriving at Changi Airport Terminal One on June 12, 2020.
Passengers arriving at Changi Airport Terminal One on June 12, 2020.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Travellers entering Singapore from selected countries may serve their stay-home notices (SHN) at home, instead of dedicated facilities, from June 18.

But they will be subject to a compulsory Covid-19 test, for which they must pay, a few days before the end of their SHN, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong on Monday (June 15) during a virtual press conference.

The new SHN rules apply  from 11.59pm on Wednesday to travellers who have been in Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, mainland China, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam in the last 14 consecutive days before their entry.

Singapore citizens and permanent residents may serve their 14-day SHN at their place of residence.

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 in accommodation facilities such as a hotel, at their own cost.

All other travellers entering Singapore will continue to serve their SHN at dedicated facilities like hotels. Those who are not Singaporeans or permanent residents will have to pay for their stay at these facilities.

Those entering or leaving Singapore from Wednesday at 11.59pm will have to pay for their own Covid-19 tests, which were previously mostly borne by the Government.

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

"Up to now, the costs 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."

Inbound travellers have to take the Covid-19 test at a designated community testing facility before the end of their SHN. They will be told of their appointment slot and venue via SMS.

 
 
 
 

They will have to travel in their own private vehicle or designated transport to the testing facility and return immediately after the test. They should avoid taking public transport. More details will be made available soon on designated transport.

MORE LONG-TERM PASS HOLDERS ALLOWED TO RETURN

The Ministry of Health said in a statement on Monday that it expects to be able to facilitate the return of more long-term pass holders in the coming weeks.

Such pass holders will still have to obtain prior approval before entering Singapore, though Mr Wong said the authorities have gradually approved more applications as the situation improves - especially for those with deep roots in Singapore or have exigent circumstances.

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.

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