The Multi-Ministry Taskforce noted no evidence has been found that the new COVID-19 variants of concern have longer incubation periods.
Effective 23 June 2021, 2359 hours, all travellers with recent travel history (past 21 days) to higher risk countries/regions, immediately before arriving in Singapore, will only be required to complete 14 days of their Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at dedicated SHN facilities. This is down from the previously-required 21 days, Singapore's Multi-Ministry Taskforce has announced.
These travellers will undergo COVID-19 PCR tests on-arrival and on day 14 of their SHN, and will be allowed to end the SHN as long as they have a negative result for day 14's PCR test.
Additionally, effective the same date, travellers who had stayed in Taiwan and Israel in the 21 days immediately before arriving in Singapore will be allowed to apply to opt out of dedicated SHN facilities before arrival, and to serve their 14-day SHN at their place of residence, if they fulfil a set of criteria.
Previously, they were required to spend 14 days at a dedicated SHN facility, and the remaining seven days of SHN at their place of residence or self-sourced accommodation.
The criteria to be fulfilled are as follows:
- They should have travelled to no other country/region other than the above-mentioned countries/regions* in the last consecutive 21 days immediately prior to entry into Singapore; and
- They are occupying their place of residence (i.e. residential address) alone, or only with household members who are also persons serving SHN with the same travel history and duration of SHN.
*Includes the following countries/regions: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Hong Kong, Macao, Mainland China, and New Zealand. (correct as of 23 June 2021).
The Taskforce has noted that refund details are being worked out for travellers who are affected by these changes, and will be shared with them separately.
Further updates to note include:
First, besides the on-arrival PCR test and PCR test on day 14 of arrival, all travellers serving the SHN in dedicated SHN facilities will also undergo ART self-administered tests on days three, seven and 11 of their arrival. This new requirement will be implemented for new arrivals from 27 Jun 2021, 2359 hours. Travellers (aged three and above) will be required to present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure to Singapore, and be subjected to all tests required of travellers under the prevailing border measures.
Second, newly-arrived migrant workers from higher-risk countries/regions and staying in dormitories or working in the construction, marine and process sector will continue to go through an additional seven-day stay at the Migrant Worker Onboarding Centre or a dedicated facility after they are cleared from their 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities. This additional seven-day stay, that has been in place since early this year, will include an additional testing regime, medical examination and Settling-In-Programme, where required.
Third, new crew from higher risk countries/regions who are entering Singapore on a long-term permit to work onboard harbour craft operating in the Port of Singapore, will undergo an additional seven-day stay and testing regime at a dedicated facility. This will follow the clearance from their 14-day SHN in Singapore, before commencing work onboard the harbour craft. The Taskforce shared that this implementation will serve as a precaution in view of the essential marine services that the harbour craft provide to support our supply chain.
On the overall reason behind these new measures, more notably the reduced SHN period for travellers from higher risk countries/regions, the Taskforce explained that while there is increased transmissibility with the new COVID-19 variants of concern, there has been no evidence – from both overseas and local data – that these variants come with longer incubation periods.
"Since we introduced the 21-day SHN for all travellers with recent travel history to higher risk countries/regions from 8 May 2021, we have had 270 imported cases among such travellers (as of 22 June 2021). All of them had incubation periods well within the 14-day window. As such, we will reduce the SHN period from 21 days back to 14 days."
However, given the higher transmissibility rate of these variants, and to identify potential infection cases early and provide infected travellers with appropriate medical care as soon as possible, travellers will be required to test themselves regularly with the ART test kits, as detailed above.
Photo / 123RF