MoM prior approval needed for entry into Singapore

SINGAPORE, 26 March 2020:

Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday reported 73 new cases of Covid-19 infection, of which 38 are imported cases.

With the new development, the tally for the Island-city is now 631 cases.

MoH said the 38 imported cases had travel history to Europe, North America, Asean and other parts of Asia.

“All except one were returning residents and Long Term Pass holders,” it said in a statement here.

MoH said one of the imported cases involved a 30-year-old Malaysian man who is a Singapore Work Pass holder.

Meanwhile, 27 other cases are linked to clusters or previous cases while eight cases are currently unlinked, and contact tracing is ongoing, said the ministry.

It informed that PCF Sparkletots Preschool at Bedok North, and Dover Court International School at Dover Road, have been identified as new clusters in the republic.

The statement said five more cases of Covid-19 infection have been discharged from hospital, thus, in all, 160 have fully recovered.

Of the 404 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving while 17 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit, it said.

Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong said from late-January to February, Singapore saw an initial wave of imported cases from China.

“However, in recent weeks, we are seeing a second wave of imported cases. In the past week alone, the number of cases in Singapore more than doubled, from 266 to 558 cases.

“Almost 80% of these new cases were imported, all from countries other than China even though we continued to see around 1,000 residents and long-term pass holders returning from China in the past week.”

The top three sources of importation cases to Singapore are the UK, US, and Indonesia, he said.

“And over the coming weeks, the number of cases will continue to rise, as around 200,000 overseas Singaporeans will be returning home from all over the world.”

Gan noted that Singapore have slowed the local spread thus far through a three-pronged approach: first, reducing importation; second, detecting and isolating cases early; and third, emphasising social responsibility and good personal hygiene habits.

All new and existing work pass holders, including dependants, planning to enter Singapore from Malaysia, are required to obtain the approval from the republic’s Ministry of Manpower (MoM) before they commence their journey.

In its website, the ministry said upon arrival in Singapore, all affected work pass holders will be placed on a mandatory 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN).

“When applying for entry approval, employers will be required to declare to MoM that they have arranged for suitable housing premises for these employees and have made appropriate arrangements for food for the duration of their SHN.”

The ministry also advised employers to inform their affected employees, including their dependents, not to make travel plans to Singapore until approval has been received from MoM.

“The employers will be required to send the MoM approval letter to the employees who will need to show it to the airline staff upon check-in (if travelling by air) and at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) checkpoint upon arrival in Singapore.”

However, those conveying essential services, or supplies – lorry drivers, vegetable supply truckers, frozen supply truckers – via land and sea crossings will be exempted from MoM’s entry approval and SHN requirements.

This is following the Singapore-Malaysia Special Working Committee which has agreed that the transport of all types of goods between Malaysia and Singapore will be facilitated during the duration of Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO), it said.

The initial MCO period which will end on March 31 has been extended to April 14, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced yesterday.

Thai prime minister General Prayuth Chan o-cha yesterday declared a state of emergency which came into effect nationwide from midnight until April 30 in the effort to curb Covid-19 pandemic in the kingdom.

Tougher measures are imposed to curb Covid-19 outbreak as the kingdom recorded 934 cases with four fatalities to date.

From midnight, all foreigners are banned entering the kingdom from all entry points – with the exception of diplomats, foreigners with working permits and those in transportation sector while Thai citizens with embassy permits and health certificates will be exempted from the travel ban.

Under the emergency decree, all shopping malls, entertainment outlets and sports venues that attract crowds are ordered to close while supermarkets that sell food and daily necessities, markets selling fresh products, pharmacies and convenience stores will remain open. Restaurant and cafes are also open and offer only takeaway and delivery services.

All tourist attractions, religious sites, museums, libraries and recreational parks will be closed. All large gatherings have been banned.

The decree advised people aged under five and more than 70 years old as well as those with underlying health conditions to stay at home.

Actions will be taken against those who hoard goods and stock up goods as well as disseminating fake news. Services including financial institutions, gas stations, delivery service will continue to operate.

The decree also advised people to avoid travel between provinces to curb Covid-19 outbreak and they will be required to undergo health checks and possible quarantine. Checkpoints will be set up soon.

Meanwhile, Prayuth urged the public to cooperate and comply all the measures imposed to stop the Covid-19 outbreak in the kingdom.

He said more stringent measures will be imposed in stages to ensure the safety and well-being of the people.

“There will be daily meeting and briefing and I will announce orders and measures to ensure coordination in all agencies and ministries or I will delegate an official to report latest developments to the people.”

Deputy prime minister in-charge of legal affairs Wissanu Krea-ngam said the Cabinet will consider extending the state of emergency decree beyond April 30 if necessary.

– Bernama