As the number of COVID-19 cases in India have been sharply increasing over the past few weeks, a petition on Change.org has emerged urging the Government to ban entry of all travellers from India to safeguard Singapore.
The petition, titled “Ban All Travellers from India to Safeguard Singapore”, was started by an user addressing themselves as “Concerned Singapore” on Wednesday (21 April) just when India recorded more than 2,000 COVID-19 deaths and almost 300,000 new cases.
This figure is among the world’s biggest daily totals since the pandemic began, official data showed.
If one thought Wednesday’s data was high, India recorded almost 315,000 new COVID-19 cases today (22 April), taking the country’s total cases to 15.9 million – the world’s second highest.
In the message that came along with the petition, it explained that the South Asian country has been reporting more than 200,000 cases on a daily basis, adding that a new “double mutant” variant has also been detected.
“The whole country is like a superspreader yet we are still accepting flights from India everyday! Is this acceptable. We already have many cases that are imported from India,” the message read.
According to data from the Ministry of Health (MOH), Singapore recorded a total of 163 imported cases in the past week (14 to 20 April), of which 71 cases involved those who arrived from India.
The petition also highlighted the recent case of an Indian expat who initially tested negative for COVID-19 in his pre-departure test in India but tested positive on his on-arrival swab test in Singapore. While he was first taken to the hospital here, he was later discharged as his serology test result came back positive showing that it was an old infection.
This means that the authorities deemed him to have been shedding only minute fragments of the virus RNA, which were no long transmissible and infective to others.
However, after more than a week, his sister-in-law and her husband were tested positive for the deadly coronavirus. All three of them live in the same household.
Based on this incident, the petition message noted that India’s pre-departure tests are “problematic”, adding that the Singapore government still allows travellers from India to enter the country.
“It is not enough that we only reduce the numbers coming in. It is not enough that we extend their SHN by another 7 days. If we want to safeguard our country, we MUST ban ALL non-Singaporean/PR travellers from India!”
The petition mentioned three reasons why the Government should ban flights from India, one of which is because the city-state risk another wave of COVID-19.
“Do we want another CB (circuit-breaker) after all our efforts at fighting the pandemic?” it asked.
Other reasons include risk exposing Singaporeans to the new “double mutant” strain and risk ruining Singapore’s reputation as a country that managed to keep the COVID-19 infections under control.
“When people from India transit in Singapore, it makes it look like the cases originated from us. Who will want to have travel bubbles with us?”
As such, the petition call for the Government to do something about this and urged members of the public to sign it as a way to tell the Government to “wake up their idea”.
“The government MUST do something about this. It is time for us to tell them to wake up their idea! This is not about xenophobia. It is to protect the health and safety of all Singaporeans!”
At the time of writing, the petition has garnered over 1,700 signatures.