Singapore to close borders but refrain from lockdown

Published on : Monday, March 23, 2020

Singapore recently decided to close borders to short-term visitors and some foreign workers starting today, March 23rd 2020. The decision comes in light of the coronavirus pandemic after Singapore reported the first two deaths in the country due to coronavirus. The Singapore government has undertaken the decision to curb the spread of the deadly virus and to decrease the risk of importing coronavirus cases into the republic.



Previously, short-term visitors except for a few countries were allowed to enter Singapore. They were issued a 14-day stay at home notice upon arrival. The new announcement would establish that no short-term visitors will be allowed to enter or even pass through the country. In addition, no semi-skilled work pass holders and their dependents would be allowed to return to Singapore. However, workers who work in sectors that provide essential services such as healthcare and transport will be exempted from the current rule.



On Sunday, Lawrence Wong, National Development Minister said in a press brief that the new measures have been undertaken to significantly tighten Singapore’s border due to the rapid escalation of the virus across the globe. He also mentioned that though these are very significant actions especially for a small economy like Singapore that is largely connected to the rest of the world, the moves are inevitable as this is an unprecedented crisis. He further added that the government is also considering taking measures against those who opt to travel overseas irrespective of border control measures.



The Singapore Ministry of Health mentioned in a statement that nearly 80% of new coronavirus cases in Singapore over the last three days were mostly imported from abroad. The majority of those individuals were Singapore residents and long-term pass holders who returned home from foreign countries. The imported coronavirus cases had travel histories to 22 different countries around the world.



In addition, Singapore has also announced to expand social distancing measures as a response to the COVID-19 virus spread. The republic has also canceled all upcoming events and banned gatherings involving 250 or more people till June 30th 2020. All social activities for older people have also been suspended by government agencies till April 7th 2020.



Additionally, retailers and food or beverage operators have been advised to create more space between customers by marking the floor with the required distance. They have also been asked to limit the number of people inside their outlet at a time. So far, Singapore has been appreciated worldwide for its measures to combat coronavirus without going for a lockdown.



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