Update on COVID-19 on 16 Mar 2020

17 Mar 2020

1              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 (link here) 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 press release is available here. 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 US. 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. The press release can be accessed here.

6              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 (hello@singaporeglobalnetwork.sg) for guidance. Students may also wish to refer to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement website (https://www.ice.gov/covid19) 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.

7              Others. 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. More details can be found here.

8              The Singapore Embassy continues 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. Embassy staff can be contacted 24 hrs a day at 202-537-3100. 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.



Annex – MOH’s Instructions on Submitting Health Information

All nationals of ASEAN countries are advised to obtain the approved health clearance from the Singapore Ministry of Health before making their travel bookings.

Those intending to visit Singapore are to submit the required information at www.healthclearance.gov.sg.

Important Information for Applicants:

  • The processing time for all applications is between 14 – 21 days.
  • The outcome of the application will be sent to the email address provided.
  • Please ensure you have a copy of the approval for verification at the Singapore checkpoints.
  • Only one application per traveller will be processed at any one time.
  • Please submit a new application if there are changes to any of the items in the Health Clearance Form that has been submitted / approved. The most current application will be treated as a new application and only the most current application will be processed.
  • Approvals are valid for 14 days from date of approval.

Important Information on Arrival in Singapore:

  • All travellers entering Singapore who have travelled to the following countries within the last 14 days will be issued a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN)2:
    • ASEAN countries, Japan, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom
    • (List as of: 16 March 2020)

  • Travellers who will be put on SHN must provide proof of the place where they will serve the 14-day SHN, for example a hotel booking covering the entire period, or a place of residence that they or their family members own.

1 ASEAN countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam.

2 The SHN will not apply to travellers transiting in Singapore without leaving the transit area.

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