The stay-home notice (SHN) period for travellers from higher-risk countries or regions will be lengthened to 21 days, up from 14 days, said Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Education and co-chair of the multi-ministry task force handling Covid-19, yesterday.
The extended SHN will apply from 11.59pm on Friday to travellers arriving from all countries and regions except for Australia, Brunei, mainland China, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. They will be required to serve their 21-day SHN period at dedicated facilities.
In addition, the period of recent travel history being assessed for border measures will also be increased to 21 days from 14.
This excludes bilaterally negotiated travel lanes, such as the reciprocal green lane or air travel bubble arrangements.
Mr Wong said: "We are adopting this more stringent border measure up till the end of May. At that time, we will do a further review, depending on the global and local situation, and we will continue to update and fine-tune our border measures."
He said that Singapore's borders have been kept tight so far, with an SHN regime of 14 days for travellers coming to Singapore.
"When we saw new variants from specific countries - for example, the United Kingdom, South Africa and India - we lengthened the SHN for these countries," he said.
"The purpose of lengthening the SHN at that time was to minimise the risk of having more variant cases leaking into our community.
"Since then, the global situation has worsened, and we're seeing new variants not just from these specific countries, because the variants are likely to have spread all over the world."
Other border measures will also be tightened from 11.59pm on Friday.
Travellers who have been in Fiji and Vietnam in the last 21 days before arriving in Singapore will have the option of serving the final seven days of their SHN at their places of residence, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).
They were previously allowed to opt out of serving the 14-day SHN at dedicated facilities to be at their places of residence instead.
Those coming from Britain, South Africa, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be required to serve the full 21-day SHN at dedicated facilities.
Travellers serving 21 days of SHN will undergo a polymerase chain reaction test on arrival, on day 14 of their SHN, and another before the end of the 21 days, said MOH.
The tighter controls come after other measures were implemented earlier this month.
For instance, since May 1, all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka within the last 14 days have not been allowed entry into Singapore, including for transit.
Asked how the tighter measures announced yesterday, which will last until May 30, would affect Singapore's travel bubble with Hong Kong, which is scheduled to start on May 26, Mr Wong said the arrangement was based on a set of measurable indicators regarding unlinked cases that would help the authorities decide whether the bubble would proceed as planned.
"But beyond that, both sides, Singapore and Hong Kong, continue to remain in touch. We will monitor the situation and we will review and assess whether or not there would be any changes and give updates in due course," he said.