UPDATE ON COVID-19 (16 March 2020)

18 Mar 2020

Dear fellow Singaporeans,


        The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States continues to increase at a rapid rate. Several states, cities and the District of Columbia have put in place significant community measures, including school closures, scaled down state services, limited gatherings etc. President Donald Trump has announced new coronavirus guidelines including avoiding social gatherings in groups of more than 10 persons.


2       You are strongly advised to stay abreast of the latest medical developments in the US by referring to the advisories on the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your local state governments. The CDC website further provides guidance to help household members plan for community transmission of COVID-19 in the US.


3       Travel Notices by US authorities. The US has now extended the suspension of entry to foreign nationals who have been physically present in the UK and Ireland during the 14-day period preceding their entry/attempted into the US, in addition to the PRC (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Iran and Europe’s Schengen Area. For information on travel-related advisories and restrictions, please refer to the websites of the CDC and US State Department. Should you have travel plans, please remember to check with the respective airlines if your flights are departing/returning as scheduled.


4       Additional Precautionary Measures for Travel into Singapore. Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) has implemented additional precautionary measures to reduce the risk of importation of COVID-19 to Singapore. These include travel advisories against all non-essential travel abroad, and further restrictions on travellers coming into Singapore. The following additional border restriction measures are in place:


  1. All travellers including Singapore Residents, Long Term Pass holders and short-term visitors entering Singapore with recent travel history to ASEAN countries, Japan, Switzerland or the United Kingdom within the last 14 days will be issued with a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and will need to provide proof of the place where they will serve the 14-day SHN;
  3. All short-term visitors who are nationals of any ASEAN country will have to submit the requisite information on their health to the Singapore Overseas Mission in the country they are resident before their intended date of travel (processing time is between 14-21 days). The submission will have to be approved by Singapore’s MOH before their travel to Singapore and the approval will be verified by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at the Singapore checkpoints. Short-term visitors who arrive in Singapore without the necessary approval will be denied entry into Singapore. Further details on submission of the health information is at Annex.
  5. As previously announced, all Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning from mainland China (outside Hubei province), Iran, Italy, France, Germany, Republic of Korea and Spain will be issued with a 14-day SHN [Note: Those returning from Hubei province are subject to quarantine]. Short-term visitors from these areas will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore.


5       Singapore Students in the United States.


  1. Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) together with the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) have decided to suspend all official overseas placements, including all internships and exchange programs, until end July. Students who are currently on such overseas placements are being recalled as soon as is practicable. You are strongly advised to contact your IHLs, if not done so yet.
  3. Singapore students in the US affected by school suspensions and closures should strongly consider returning to Singapore in the interim. Please contact your educational institutions, student associations or SGN for guidance. Students may also wish to refer to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement website for further information. If Singapore students plan to travel outside the US during this period and intend to return when classes resume, they should work with their education institutions on the arrangements, monitor developments in the respective states, as well as the travel advisories issued by the State Department and CDC. Should you choose to remain in the US, please heed the advice of local authorities, have the contact number of your medical care provider handy and ensure you have the necessary health coverage. Please keep in touch with your families in Singapore to update them on your situation.


6       Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines has announced that it is waiving all rebooking fees for tickets issued on or before 15 Mar 20, for travel up to 31 May 20, with immediate effect.


7       New YorkIn what has been far-reaching measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19, New York City has shut down the public school system, restaurants, bars, cultural, entertainment and concert venues, impacting the way New Yorkers work, play and interact with one another.  The NYC Health Department has advised that everyone should consider themselves to be exposed to COVID-19, and should actively self-monitor and observe social distancing seriously.  The city’s mitigation strategy at this time is to flatten the curve of infections to ensure that the healthcare system can cope with the strain of the outbreak.  The measures taken include self-isolation or quarantine, social distancing, and prioritizing healthcare capacity for the urgent, worsening or vulnerable cases. As developments continue to unfold, our New York community is advised to closely monitor the NY State Department of Health website and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website.


8       The Singapore Consulate in New York will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation closely. We are guided by advice from the US authorities, and are ready to provide consular assistance when required. The Consulate can be contacted at +1 917 293 4540 . If you know of Singaporeans who have yet to e-Register, please encourage them to do so through the MFA e-Register at https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg to be included in the mailing list for future updates. This will also enable us to contact and render necessary assistance during an emergency.


9       Please stay healthy.

Best regards,

Consulate of the Republic of Singapore in New York

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