Travellers from Taiwan who are entering Singapore will soon not be required to serve a 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) if their COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result, which they have to take upon arrival, comes out negative.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Thursday (5 August) that this new leeway will come into effect from 11.59 pm on Saturday (7 August) as the COVID-19 situation in Taiwan has improved.
Currently, travellers from Taiwan must undergo an on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test, a 14-day SHN at a dedicated facility or place of residence, and a PCR test before the end of their SHN.
However, from Saturday onwards, all travellers arriving in Singapore with travel history to Taiwan within the last 21 days before departure must take a PCR test on arrival in Singapore. If their test result is negative, they will be permitted to go on with their activities in the Republic.
Short-term visitors with travel history to Taiwan in the 21 days before their departure for Singapore can also apply for an Air Travel Pass for entry into Singapore on or after 12 August, MOH said.
However, the Ministry noted travellers who are already observing their 14-day SHN at their place of resident as of 11.59pm on Saturday will still be required to complete their SHN and exit swab.
Earlier on 16 May, Singapore imposed a tighter SHN requirement on travellers from Taiwan as the number of COVID-19 cases began to increase there.
On top of serving a 14-day SHN at a dedicated facility, travellers were also require to serve an additional 7-day SHN at their place of residence. Short-term travellers with Air Travel Passes were also not allowed to enter Singapore if they’d been to Taiwan in the previous 21 days.
Non-Singaporeans and permanent residents had to obtain a negative PCR test within 72 hours before departure for Singapore.
Then on 23 June, MOH announced that travellers from Taiwan can choose to serve their SHN in their homes rather than at dedicated facilities.
Given that the COVID-19 situation is improving in Taiwan, MOH said on Thursday that it will ease the travel measure with the country and still adjust Singapore’s border measures in order to manage the risk of transportation and transmission to the community as the global COVID-19 situation evolves.
“As the global situation evolves, we will continue to adjust our border measures to manage the risk of importation and transmission to the community.”
Upon reading this news, online users slammed the authorities for easing travel measures with Taiwan, highlighting that it is an “irresponsible” and “rash” decision to make. Penning their thoughts in the Facebook page of Channel News Asia, netizens said that they’ve had scenarios of imported cases where individuals were tested positive during their SHN, adding that this move will possibly strain healthcare workers as the cases will increase.
One user wrote: “As a small island, the best defence against virus is at our borders, not tracing, vaccinating and keep asking citizens to dig nose.”
Some pointed out that the inoculation programme in Taiwan is very slow and most of its people are not vaccinated. As such, they urge the Government to consider this point before easing travel measures with Taiwan.
Others noted that it does not make sense for the Government to impose Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) in Singapore where people are not even allowed to dine-in or gather in big crowds, but it decided to ease the borders control with Taiwan.
A number of online users proposed that only vaccinated individuals from Taiwan should be allowed to enter Singapore.