COVID-19: All travellers to be tested upon arrival in Singapore, including citizens and PRs

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·3 min read
Travellers at the transit area of Changi International Airport.
Travellers at the transit area of Changi International Airport. (PHOTO: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — All travellers, including Singaporeans and permanent residents, will have to take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival into Singapore from 11.59pm on 24 January.

Currently, only travellers who are not Singaporeans or PRs, and who have recent travel history to high-risk countries or regions, are required to take a PCR test within 72 hours before departure to Singapore.

However, with the resurgence of COVID-19 cases around the world, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a media release on Saturday (16 January) that it will be putting in place the more stringent measures to manage the risk of importation of the coronavirus.

The prevailing Stay-Home Notice (SHN) requirements for travellers coming into Singapore, including the PCR test at the end of the SHN, will continue.

Extra 7-day self-isolation for returning S’poreans/PRs from UK, South Africa

With a more contagious variant of COVID-19 circulating in the United Kingdom and South Africa, Singapore authorities had earlier restricted entry and transit for all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to these two countries.

From 11.59pm on Monday, all returning Singaporeans and PRs from these countries will have to do an additional seven-day self-isolation at their places of residence, following their 14-day SHN at dedicated facilities.

In addition to the current requirement of taking a PCR test at the end of their SHNs, these travellers will be tested again after they have completed their seven-day self-isolation period.

These further precautions will apply to travellers who are currently serving their SHNs.

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Visitors required to have travel insurance from 31 January

Currently, short-term visitors entering Singapore under the Air Travel Pass (ATP) and Reciprocal Green Lanes (RGLs) are required to bear the full costs of medical treatment, should they be suspected of being infected with COVID-19 or require medical treatment for COVID-19 while in Singapore.

With effect from 11.59pm on 31 January, visitors applying to enter Singapore under the ATP and RGLs will need to have travel insurance to help them pay for their COVID-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs in Singapore, with a minimum coverage of $30,000.

The visitors can purchase the travel insurance from Singapore-based or overseas insurers. A list of available insurance products can be found at the SafeTravel website.

PCR, serology tests for workers from three sectors

From Monday, work permit and S-Pass holders from the construction, marine and process sectors coming in from higher-risk countries or regions must take a PCR test and a serology test on arrival in Singapore.

The multi-ministry taskforce for COVID-19 (MTF) said in a media release on Saturday that the on-arrival PCR test will enable early detection of COVID-19 cases, provide access to medical care quickly, and reduce the risk of leakage of imported cases into the community.

The serology test, on the other hand, will help identify workers who have recovered from the COVID-19 and have antibodies. They will be exempted from SHN, additional seven-day testing regime, and rostered routine testing requirements. This can help to minimise work disruption and associated costs.

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