Filipinos entering Singapore required to stay home for 14 days

SINGAPORE – Filipinos entering Singapore, if coming from the Philippines, need to stay home for 14 days after entry into the city-state, as part of efforts to fight the novel coronavirus.

The same rule applies to individuals with travel histories to other member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Japan, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, said the Singaporean Ministry of Health (MOH) on Sunday, March 15.

In a statement, the MOH said visitors with travel histories to these countries will be issued a 14-day stay-home notice.

A stay-home notice requires a person to remain in his or her place of residence at all times. The person is not allowed to leave his or her residence even to buy food and other goods.

Penalties include prosecution under Section 21A of Singapore's Infectious Disease Act, and revocation of their work or reentry permits.

"From 16 March 2020, 2359 hours, all travelers (including Singapore residents, long-term pass holders, and short-term visitors) entering Singapore with recent travel history to ASEAN countries, Japan, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom within the last 14 days will be issued with a 14-day stay-home notice (SHN)," said the MOH.

"In addition, they will have to provide proof of the place where they will serve the 14-day SHN, for example a hotel booking covering the entire period, or a place of residence they or their family members own. They may also be swabbed for testing for COVID-19, even if asymptomatic. This is because of the risk of community transmission in these countries and evidence of cases that have been imported from these countries into Singapore," the ministry added.

On top of this, short-term visitors who are citizens of ASEAN countries need to submit information on their health to the Singapore overseas mission of their country of residence. Singapore's MOH will have to approve this submission, and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority needs to verify this.

Travelers without this approval will be denied entry to Singapore.

The MOH said: "In addition to the SHN requirement, from 16 March 2020, 2359 hours, all short-term visitors who are nationals of any ASEAN country will have to submit requisite information on their health to the Singapore Overseas Mission in the country they are resident before their intended date of travel. The submission will have to be approved by Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) before travel to Singapore, and the approval will be verified by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at the Singapore checkpoints."

"Short-term visitors who arrive in Singapore without the necessary approval will be denied entry into Singapore.They are therefore advised to secure the approval before making definitive travel bookings," said the MOH.

This comes after the number of imported coronavirus cases in Singapore rose in recent days.

Singapore has identified the Philippines as among the countries that have exported COVID-19 cases in the city-state.

There have been 9 Filipino coronavirus cases in Singapore. At least 5 of them recently visited the Philippines.

Singapore on Friday, March 13, cautioned its citizens against traveling to the Philippines and other countries that have exported COVID-19 cases to theirs.

Singapore has had 212 novel coronavirus cases as of Saturday, March 14.

Of this number, 105, including two Filipinos, have fully recovered from COVID-19, while 11 remain in critical condition. Singapore has not had any deaths since reporting its first case of the novel coronavirus on January 23. – Rappler.com 

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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