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Singapore administers stricter border restriction measures for COVID-19

16 Mar 2020

Singapore’s Ministry of Health on Sunday (15th March) implemented additional precautionary measures to further reduce the risk of importation of COVID-19 to Singapore.

As the number of COVID-19 cases have globally escalated over the past week, with Singapore seeing an additional 25 news cases in the past three days alone [1] – it has been observed that more than three-quarters of new cases in Singapore were imported cases.  

Based on this latest situation, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce has put in place additional border control measures. 

Border Restrictions

From 16 March 2020, 2359 hours, all travellers (including Singapore Residents, Long Term Pass holders, and short-term visitors) entering Singapore with recent travel history to ASEAN countries[2], Japan, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom within the last 14 days will be issued with a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN).

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.

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.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will also introduce new measures for Foreign Domestic Workers entering Singapore. More details will be announced by MOM.

As previously announced, residents and long-term pass holders returning from mainland China (outside Hubei province), Iran, Italy, France, Germany, Republic of Korea, and Spain will continue to be issued a 14-day SHN upon return to Singapore, while short-term visitors from these areas will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore.

All travellers entering Singapore and exhibiting fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness are required to undergo a COVID-19 swab test at the checkpoints, regardless of travel history.

 Such travellers will also be issued a 14-day SHN, which they will have to serve in full even if the result of the swab test is negative. Those who meet the clinical suspect case definition will be conveyed to the hospital for follow-up.

Persons under SHN will have to remain in their place of residence at all times for 14 days after entering Singapore.

Singapore’s border control measures in relation to COVID-19, including the new ones announced in this press statement, are summarised in the Annex. These border restrictions will be reviewed in 30 days. The Taskforce may extend the border restriction measures to more countries as the global and local situation evolves.

Travel advisory

With immediate effect, Singaporeans are advised to defer all non-essential travel abroad. This advisory will apply for 30 days, and will be reviewed thereafter.

This is to reduce the risk of Singaporeans contracting COVID-19 infection while overseas during this global pandemic.

Singaporeans who have made plans to travel abroad during the March school holidays are advised to review their plans. 

All travellers will be subject to the prevailing travel measures imposed by their destination countries, and those imposed by Singapore upon their return home. 

As the situation remains uncertain and will continue to evolve, Singaporeans are advised to review their travel plans for the coming months after the March school holidays as well.

As Singapore’s measures will evolve according to the global situation, Singaporeans should check the MOH website (https://www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19) for the latest measures.

[1] As of 14 March, 12pm.

[2] ASEAN countries besides Singapore: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam.

[3] The SHN will not apply to travellers transiting in Singapore without leaving the transit area.

[4] Persons returning from Hubei province are subject to quarantine.



List of Countries/ Regions and Border Control Measures

Travel History in the last 14-days in Countries/Regions For Singapore Residents and Long-Term Pass Holders For Short-Term Visitors
Hubei province (mainland China) 14-day quarantine Not allowed entry or transit
Mainland China (except Hubei province), France, Germany, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, and Spain 14-day SHN Not allowed entry or transit
[New] ASEAN countries


14-day SHN 14-day SHN

Short-term visitors who are ASEAN nationals will also be required to submit requisite health information for approval before travelling

[New] Japan, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom 14-day SHN 14-day SHN


The full press release from the Singapore Ministry of Health is available here.

Photo credit: Swanil Bapat
Published: 16 March, 2020

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