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COVID-19: Singapore imposes restrictions for travellers from South Africa

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·2-min read
A quiet uncrowded Terminal 3, Changi Airport. (PHOTO: Getty)
A quiet uncrowded Terminal 3, Changi Airport. (PHOTO: Getty)

SINGAPORE – Singapore will restrict travel from South Africa given the deteriorating situation there.

In a news release on Friday (1 January), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that as of 11.59pm on Sunday (3 January), all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to South Africa within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into, or transit through, Singapore. This restriction will apply to those who have obtained prior approval for entry into Singapore, the ministry said.

Returning Singapore citizens and permanent residents will be required to undergo a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival in Singapore at the start of their 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN). These test requirements do not apply to those who are only transiting through Singapore.

These tightened border measures, the ministry said, is to reduce the risk of spread to Singapore of a potentially more contagious strain of the COVID-19 virus circulating in South Africa.

While the strain has been suggested to be more transmissible, the MOH said, there is currently insufficient evidence to determine if this strain is associated with any change in disease severity, antibody response or vaccine efficacy. “These aspects are being investigated. MOH will evaluate the data as it emerges and review our border measures accordingly.”

Currently, travellers with recent travel history to South Africa within 14 days prior to departure to Singapore are required to serve a 14-day SHN at dedicated facilities. Travellers who are not Singapore citizens or permanent residents are also required to take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before departure and present a valid negative COVID-19 test result as a condition of approval to enter Singapore.

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