In view of the heightened risk of importation of COVID-19 cases into Singapore, the government will be banning all short-term visitors from entering or transiting through the country.
This ban – which will be in place from 11.59pm on March 23, also acts to conserve resources in order to focus on Singapore residents, Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement.
In addition, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will only allow the entry/return of work pass holders – including their dependents – for those providing essential services such as healthcare and transport.
Previously, except for a handful of countries, short-term visitors from elsewhere were allowed to enter Singapore. They would be issued a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) upon arrival.
"This meant, however, that resources were being expended to serve and enforce SHNs on them, and if they fell ill, to provide them with medical treatment," MOH said, adding that 533 short-term visitors arrived in Singapore on March 21.
In Singapore, almost 80 per cent of new COVID-19 cases over the past three days were imported. They comprise mostly of Singapore residents and Long Term Pass holders returning home from abroad. These imported cases had travel histories to 22 different countries, MOH said.