All long-term pass holders and short term visitors who have been in India within the last two weeks will not be allowed entry or transit through Singapore starting from Friday (23 Apr) at 11.59pm “until further notice”, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (22 Apr).
The announcement came after 11 migrant workers of Westlite Woodlands dormitory were tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, of which 10 of them have initially recovered from the disease.
In a statement, MOH noted that while there is no evidence that the cases are linked to the new strain from India, many of the arrivals from India are workers in the construction, marine and process sectors.
“Even with our control measures, there is still a risk that a leak may happen, and cause another wave of infection in the dormitories. It is also a concern that recovered workers (i.e. those who had been infected earlier) are susceptible to being re-infected,” it said.
As such, the Ministry has decided to further tighten border measures with India.
It noted that all travellers who have been to India and have yet to complete their 14-days SHN by 11.59pm on Thursday (22 Apr) will be required to complete their additional seven-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities.
“They will undergo COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests on-arrival, on Day 14 of their SHN, and another test before the end of their 21-day SHN period,” MOH noted.
It added that all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors who have been to India within the last two weeks will be barred from entering Singapore, or transit through Singapore.
The ban will take effect at 11.59pm on Friday (23 Apr) until further notice, said MOH, adding that it will also apply to all those who had obtained prior approval for entry into the city-state.
It was stated that both MOH and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), in consultation with infectious disease specialists, have reviewed the latest scientific evidence from the cohort of recovered persons in Singapore nearing one year from the date of infection.
The Ministries found that the evidence suggests a possible gradual decrease in antibody levels in recovered persons, said MOH.
“Immunity in recovered persons can wane, and caution is required around the infection risks in recovered persons,” it added.
Additionally, MOH said recovered dormitory-dwelling workers and CMP workers who are living in Singapore, and who have crossed 270 days from the date of COVID-19 infection, will no longer be exempted from prevailing public health measures starting from 29 Apr.
“They will be enrolled back on RRT once they have passed 270 days from the date of past infection and, if identified as close contacts, will be subjected to quarantine to identify potential re-infection and mitigate the risk of spread.
“Newly arrived migrant workers with a serology positive result will also be enrolled onto 14-day RRT,” it noted.
MOH added that all newly arrived migrant workers from higher-risk countries or regions will now have to undergo SHN at a dedicated facility before being onboarded at Migrant Workers Onboarding Centre (MWOC) for an additional testing regime.
“Imported cases suspected of re-infection will be isolated and undergo repeat COVID-19 PCR tests to monitor the trend of their viral loads, to ensure that such cases are detected promptly,” it asserted.