SINGAPORE — All China passport holders not residing in Singapore will be barred from entering or transiting through Singapore, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce on the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak announced on Friday (31 January).
With immediate effect, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will suspend the issuance of all forms of new visas to those with China passports. Singapore’s status as a visa-free transit facility for those with China passports will also be suspended.
Previously issued short-term and multiple-visit visas for those with China passports will also be suspended. During this period of suspension, they will not be allowed entry into Singapore.
All new visitors with recent travel history to mainland China within the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore, said the Taskforce.
Returning Singaporeans and long-term visa pass holders with similar recent travel history will be allowed to enter, but they will have to get 14 days of Leave of Absence (LOA) upon returning.
The curbs will take effect on Saturday at 23.59pm.
The latest moves would enable the authorities to limit the number of imported cases and reduce the risk of community spread, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the Taskforce, at a media briefing on Friday (31 January).
To date, there is no evidence of community spread of the virus, he added.
The new curbs were announced less than a day after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern”. The declaration sets the stage for global coordinated efforts to deal with the outbreak.
WHO believes that it is still possible to interrupt the spread of the virus, provided that countries implement strong response measures, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement.
“While the majority of confirmed cases in China are still linked to Hubei province, MOH understands that there is a growing possibility that more individuals from other parts of China may be infected with the virus. Significantly, the virus has spread to every region of mainland China,” MOH said.
On Thursday, the MOH confirmed three more cases of the Wuhan coronavirus in Singapore, bringing the total tally in the Republic to 13.
All 13 confirmed cases are Chinese nationals, of whom at least 11 are residents of Wuhan, where the virus originated.
The coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, has spread to 22 territories beyond mainland China, sickening close to 10,000 people – surpassing figures for the 2002-2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak – and claiming 213 lives to date.
On Tuesday, the Taskforce announced a set of travel curbs specific to visitors with recent travel history to Hubei province, home to Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
There is a travel ban in place for new visitors with recent travel history to Hubei within the last 14 days, since Wednesday. Such individuals are not allowed to enter or transit through Singapore.
This also applies to those with Chinese passports issued in Hubei. For such travellers, there is a suspension on issuance of all new visas, previously-issued short-term and multiple-visit visas, and visa-free transit facilities. The ban applies to land, sea and air travel.
Returning Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders with travel history to Hubei in the last 14 days will be quarantined, as will returning permanent residents and long-term pass holders with Chinese passports issued in Hubei.