As the cases of coronavirus continue to grow in most parts of the world, countries such as China, Singapore, and Hong Kong have managed to contain local transmissions within its communities.
Despite this development, Singapore has now seen an increase in the number of ‘imported’ coronavirus cases in the country, which prompted the government to ban all tourists from entering the city-state effective Monday (March 23).
Gov’t Bars All Tourists from Entering SG Amid Spike in Imported Coronavirus Cases
In line with this update, Singapore has announced that it is also restricting the return of work pass holders and their dependents, as shared in a report by Rappler.
The Singapore government announced that starting at 11:59 pm on Monday, it will take in returning work pass holders and dependents only if they are employed in essential industries such as transport and healthcare.
It noted that 80% of its new COVID-19 cases in the past 3 days were imported.
In a statement shared by Singapore’s Ministry of Health, it said: “In view of the heightened risk of importation of COVID-19 cases into Singapore, all short-term visitors will now not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore. This is also to conserve resources so we can focus on Singaporeans.“
The statement specified, “From 23 March 2020, 2359 hours, all short-term visitors (from anywhere in the world) will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore. Furthermore the Ministry of Manpower will only allow the entry/ return of work pass holders, including their dependents, for those providing essential services, such as in healthcare and transport.”
Before this update, Singapore had allowed short-term visitors, except those coming from several countries. The previous condition for short-term visitors was to comply with a government-issued Stay-Home Notice (SHN) that would require them to stay indoors for 14 days upon entry.
“This meant, however, that resources were being expended to serve and enforce SHNs on them, and if they fell ill, to provide them with medical treatment,” the MOH said, noting that on Saturday, March 21, “there were still 533 short-term visitors arriving in Singapore.”
As of March 21, Saturday, Singapore has recorded 432 cases of the coronavirus. Of this number, 140 patients have fully recovered and have been discharged from the hospital, 14 are in critical condition, and most are stable and improving.
Two deaths were also reported on Saturday due to complications arising from the disease. The 75-year-old female Singaporean and 64-year-old male Indonesian who died were Singapore’s first two deaths due to COVID-19.
Singapore’s coronavirus cases include 14 Filipinos, many of whom recently visited the Philippines.
According to a report by the MOH, the 14th Filipino coronavirus patient is a 66-year-old female long-term pass holder. She is considered an imported case who recently traveled to the Philippines.
The report noted that the Philippines is among the countries that have exported coronavirus cases to Singapore.
Tourism plays an important part in Singapore’s economy, contributing around 4% of the country’s gross domestic product. In the 3rd quarter of 2019 alone, for instance, Singapore had 14.3 million international visitors.
Before the new ban on tourists, the Singapore Tourism Board had projected in February that the city-state will lose 25-30% of international visitors due to the coronavirus according to a report by The Straits Times.
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