Singapore tightens quarantine and social distancing


Social distancing regulations are to be tightened in Singapore.


Singapore is to tighten its quarantine and social distancing rules, including extending its Stay Home Notice (quarantine) from 14 to 21 days for higher risk countries.


The move follows a rise in community Covid-19 cases in the city in recent weeks and deteriorating conditions globally.


The extended SHN will apply to travellers arriving from all countries from 11.59pm on Friday May 7 who will be required to serve the full 21 days at dedicated facilities. Countries exempted from the new ruling are Australia, Brunei, mainland China, New Zealand, Taiwan and Hong Kong and Macau.


According to the Singapore government, the stricter border controls will be in place until the end of May when a further review will be carried out. Measures will be updated and fine-tuned depending on the global and local situation.


During the 21 day SHN, travellers must undergo a PCR test on arrival, on day 14 and on day 21.


Education minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the task force handling Covid-19 in Singapore, told The Straits Times that Singapore’s borders have been “kept tight” so far.


“The global situation has worsened and we’re seeing new variants not just from these specific countries (United Kingdom, South Africa and India), because the variants are likely to have spread all over the world,” he said.


Tighter restrictions were also announced on May 1, banning entry into Singapore for long-term pass holders and short-term visitors who have been in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka within the last 14 days.


Travellers with a recent travel history to Thailand are now required to serve a 14-day SHN at dedicated facilities rather than at home.


Domestically, Singapore will also be tightening its social distancing rules following a cluster of Covid infections that have stemmed from a nurse who tested positive for Covid-19 on April 27. By May 1, 16 new infections had been linked to the cluster and one person had died.


From Saturday May 8, group gatherings will be reduced from eight to five people and households will only be allowed to receive up to five visitors a day. Singaporeans are being encouraged to “scale back” on social interactions. Capacity limits at museums and libraries will be reduced from 65% to 50% and gyms and fitness studios must close until May 30.


Wong said he hoped a new circuit breaker would not have to be introduced.