Singapore will now bar all new entries into Singapore, for visitors with recent travel history to Cheongdo and Daegu, the Republic of Korea. Visitors from these places will not be allowed to transit through the country, either.

At the same time, returning Singaporean citizens, permanent residents or anyone with a long-term pass and a recent travel history to these two regions will be served a 14-day stay-home notice (SHN).

This was announced by Ministry of State for National Development Lawrence Wong, Co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce on COVID-19, at a press conference yesterday, in line with both Cheongdo and Daegu being designated as special care zones by the Korean government.

He stated: "These are the measures for now, but we will not rule out further updates. We will continue to monitor the situation in the Republic of Korea very carefully.

"If the virus were to spread beyond these two regions, and we see broader transmission of the virus in the community, we will impose more stringent measures for the whole of the Republic of Korea."

[ALSO READ: COVID-19: Singapore introduces Stay-Home Notice for those returning from China]

In line with this, with effect from 11.59pm today (26 February 2020), all work pass holders (and their dependants) with travel history to both regions within the last 14 days, who plan to enter/return to Singapore will have to obtain the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)'s approval before commencing their journey.

This is regardless of their nationality, and will apply to: (a) existing work pass holders currently out of Singapore; and (b) In-Principle Approval holders who have yet to enter Singapore.

Employers will be required to declare to MOM that they have arranged for suitable premises to house these returning employees for the duration of their SHN, when applying for the entry approval.

  • From 8am on 26 February, employers are required to apply for entry approval on a specific online facility, and should inform the affected employees and their dependants not to make travel plans to Singapore until MOM approves of the application;
  • Upon approval, the employers will be required to share the approval letter with these employees, who will then have to present it to the airline staff upon check-in and to the Immigrations and Checkpoint Authority officers upon arrival in Singapore.

Things for employers to note on the stay-home notice requirements

The MOM has stressed that both the employers and work pass holders have a joint duty to ensure that the SHN is complied with:
  • Work pass holders on SHN should not leave their place of residence, and should monitor their health closely and seek medical attention immediately if they develop any fever or symptoms of acute respiratory illness such as cough or shortness of breath.
  • Work pass holders on SHN can make their own arrangements for their daily necessities, such as meals and daily essentials. This could include requesting their house or dormitory mates to help procure these for them, or ordering home delivery services. Employers are responsible to ensure that these employees can obtain meals and other daily essentials.
  • If he or she is unable to make their own arrangements, the employer will have to make the necessary arrangements. If support from employers is not forthcoming, work pass holders should report their difficulties to MOM.
The Ministry further highlighted that it will not hesitate to take enforcement measures against errant employers or employees who do not comply with the requirements set out above, including the revocation of work passes and withdrawal of work pass privileges.

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