Effective 2 November 2020, travellers from selected countries will be able to opt out of serving their stay-home notice (SHN) at dedicated government facilities, for arrivals on or after 4 November 2020.

This will apply to travellers from Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Finland, Estonia, Fiji and Norway, apart from countries that Singapore has "unilaterally opened up to", the Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced on Tuesday (27 October).

In a press release, the Taskforce said the new requirements would be subject to the travellers fulfilling the following criteria:

  • They have not travelled to any other country apart from the above-mentioned countries, in the last consecutive 14 days prior to entry; and
  • They are occupying their place of residence alone, or only with household members who are also serving SHN with the same travel history and SHN duration.

For Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Permanent Residents (PRs), the application must be made prior to arrival via the Safe Travel Office website; while the other demographics of travellers may apply to opt out as part of the entry approval process.

All travellers should also note that they must present the approval to opt out upon arrival in Singapore. The Taskforce also highlighted that as the list of countries allowed will be updated from time to time depending on the public health risk assessment, all travellers must be prepared to be subject to the prevailing border measures upon entry, including stay in dedicated SHN facilities and payment, where applicable.

Further, all travellers who opt to stay at their place of residence for SHN must remain in their declared place of residence at all times. They will be subject to close monitoring of their whereabouts, through electronic monitoring as well as physical spot-checks. Strict enforcement action will be taken against those who breach the requirements of the SHN or make false declarations.

This group will also be required to utilise specially designated transport services from the checkpoint to their place of residence and to their respective testing facilities, and bear the costs for these transport arrangements.

New requirements from 1 Jan 2021: Payment for SHN at dedicated facilities, and COVID-19 treatment

Apart from the above, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce also announced that effective 1 January 2021, the government will no longer waive the costs of stay at dedicated SHN facilities for SCs and PRs who last left Singapore before 27 March 2020. Instead, travellers who choose to stay at such facilities will have to bear the costs.

It noted that this decision comes as stay in self-isolation facilities is now a "widely-accepted requirement of international travel in a COVID-19 world", and that the vast majority of SCs and PRs who left Singapore in the past year have since returned.

In the same vein, effective the same date, all returning SCs, PRs, Long-Term Pass Holders (LTPHs) who left Singapore before 27 March 2020, as well as new SCs, PRs and LTPHs will have to bear the costs of their inpatient medical bills, should they develop an onset of symptoms within 14 days of their arrival.

However, these travellers will be able to tap on regular healthcare financial arrangements for their inpatient medical bills – SCs and PRs may access government subsidies and MediShield Life/Integrated Shield Plan to help pay for their bills, while LTPHs may tap on their usual financing arrangements, such as private insurance.

Photo / 123RF

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