Indian nationals make up about 70% of imported cases from Nepal, 50% of UAE to Singapore in 2021, based on MOH data

Most of the imported COVID-19 cases from Nepal and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the past five months were Indian nationals, with 69.89 per cent and 50.85 per cent of the cases entering Singapore from these countries were listed under the nationality of India, respectively.

In an earlier report, it was noted that Singapore has recorded about 2,866 imported cases of COVID-19 between 1 January to 11 June this year.

TOC retrieved data of imported cases from the Ministry of Health’s website (MOH), classifying them into nine categories according to their travel history.

These nine categories indicate whether they are work pass holders, work permit holders, dependant pass holders, special pass holders, student pass holders, short-term visitors, long-term visitors, Singapore citizens (SCs), or permanent residents (PRs).

Based on the tabulated figures, the majority of imported cases came from India with 1,064 (37%) cases, and Indonesia with 551 (19.2%) cases.

While most of the work permit holders (409 cases) and special pass holders (23 cases) originated from Indonesia, arrivals from India seem to dominate the rest of the categories.

Between 1 January to 11 June, Singapore had about 323 work pass holders who tested positive for the virus. Among these, 117 of them came from India, 45 cases came from Nepal, and 42 from the UAE.

Similarly, out of the 216 dependant pass holders during that period, 85 of them were from India, 46 from Nepal, and 33 from the UAE.

The majority of student pass holders also came from India, with 67 cases – out of 100 total student pass holders reported in the same period – while Indonesia came in second with six student pass holders reported.

In addition, about 80 of the total 211 short-term visitors reported from 1 January to 11 June were from India.

India also had the highest number of long-term visitors entering Singapore during that period, with 30 cases – out of 47 long-term visitors in total.

Most of the infected SCs and PRs in the same period were also originated from India, with 127 cases – out of 283 SCs in total – and 284 cases – out of 387 PRs in total – respectively.

Most of the imported cases from Nepal, UAE, were Indian nationals

TOC also consolidated data of imported cases from Nepal and the UAE between 1 January to 11 June, classifying them into the same nine categories, based on their nationality.

Out of the total 2,866 imported COVID-19 cases, 118 (4%) cases originated from the UAE, and 93 (3%) were from Nepal.

However, the data revealed that about 69.9 per cent of the imported cases from Nepal were Indian nationals, and only 30.1 per cent were Nepal nationals.

As for the imported cases from the UAE, about 50.85 per cent of them were Indian nationals, 23.7 per cent were UAE nationals, and 14.4 per cent were United Kingdom (UK) nationals.

Actual numbers of Indian nationals coming into S’pore from 1 Jan to 11 June could be higher

Although it remains uncertain whether these percentages represent the number of Indian nationals transitting from Nepal and the UAE into Singapore, there were factors that may infer this.

The Singapore Government announced on 22 April that the city-state will be closing entry indefinitely to all non-residents who have been in India in the last two weeks, amid a surge in India’s COVID-19 cases.

However, Nepali Times reported that many Indians have resorted to using Kathmandu transit to go to countries like Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Hong Kong that have banned direct flights from India.

It noted that flights between New Delhi and Kathmandu were “partially restored” after the “air bubble agreement” between India and Nepal, and the route is served by Air India and Nepal Airlines.

Nepali Times’ report highlighted that “up to 400 Indian workers” were leaving Kathmandu every day for Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Hong Kong and other countries, after spending about two weeks in Kathmandu hotels.

The report also stated that about 5,250 Indian flew out of Kathmandu airport between 1 April to 18 April.

The Nepal Government subsequently ordered to close borders with India in May, while Singapore banned all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors – including transit – from Nepal on 2 May.

Meanwhile, the UAE which also had a travel bubble with India, imposed a ban on all flights from India for a period of 10 days from 25 April onwards, which later extended to 30 June. The country extended its suspension of flight services from India until 6 July.

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