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Covid-19: Singapore imposes new requirements for visitors from Asean countries, Japan, Switzerland and UK

SINGAPORE has introduced tighter border controls to contain the spread of Covid-19 as the number of imported cases continues to climb locally. 

From 11.59pm on March 16, all travellers - including Singapore residents, long-term pass holders and short-term visitors - entering Singapore with recent travel history to Asean countries, Japan, Switzerland or the UK in the last 14 days will have to comply with a new 14-day stay-home notice and provide proof of the place where they will serve the notice.

This proof could be a hotel booking covering the entire period, or a place or residence that they or their family members own, said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong on Sunday.  

To be clear, this latest measure will not apply to Singapore's sea and land checkpoints with Malaysia due to the "close proximity and high interdependency" between both countries, said Mr Wong, noting that separate arrangements with Malaysia are currently being worked out. 

In addition to the new stay-home requirement, 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 of their residence before their intended date of travel, or be denied entry into Singapore. The submission will have to be approved by Singapore's Ministry of Health before travel to Singapore and be further verified by the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) officers at Singapore checkpoints. 

This comes as Singapore has seen an increase in Asean nationals entering Singapore with a "specific purpose" to seek medical care, said Mr Wong. In the past three days alone, more than a quarter of imported Covid-19 cases were from Asean countries.  

"It's very hard for us to cope with this additional demand during this critical period, where our healthcare resources are already stretched," said Mr Wong, noting that the imported cases will impose a "significant" burden on Singapore's healthcare resources at this time. 

All Singaporeans are also advised to defer all non-essential travel abroad with immediate effect. This advisory will be in effect for 30 days, and will be reviewed thereafter, said Mr Wong. The Ministry of Manpower will also introduce new measures for foreign domestic workers entering Singapore, with more details to be announced soon. 

In the past three days alone, Singapore has seen an increase of 25 new Covid-19 cases, of which more than three quarters were imported cases. The latest infections bring Singapore's total tally to 212.