(Singapore, Jan 28, 2020) Beginning from today, ICA officers at Changi and Seletar airports will refer arriving Chinese nationals with passports issued in Hubei province to the health screening stations at the airports for further medical assessment.
Two new cases of the Wuhan virus have been confirmed here, bringing the total number of infected people in Singapore to seven, according to the island country’s Health Ministry.
As the spread accelerates in line with the sharp increase in global infection rates, new restrictions have included no entry or transit for travelers with passports issued in Hubei or those who have traveled there recently.
That means some 2,000 recent travelers from Hubei who are in Singapore, and those assessed to be of higher risk and with a recent travel history to Hubei will be quarantined.
Wuhan is the capital city of Hubei Province, the 7th biggest city in China and the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. Three groups of people will be included for close monitoring.
Among them: recent travelers from Hubei already in Singapore; returning residents of Singapore or long-term pass holders with travel history to Hubei or with China passports issued in Hubei, and new visitors with a travel history to Hubei or China passports issued in Hubei.
For the first group, which refers to recent travelers from Hubei already in Singapore, the ministry said it has started contacting individuals with Hubei travel history and China nationals with Hubei passports.
There are an estimated 2,000 such individuals here, about 1,000 on short-term visas. Half are residents and the rest are visitors.
For the second group – returning residents and long-term pass holders with travel history to Hubei or with China passports issued in Hubei – they will be quarantined on their return.
And for the third group, from noon on Wednesday (Jan 29), there will be no entry or transit through Singapore for all new visitors with recent Hubei travel history within the last 14 days, or holders of China passports issued in Hubei.
Despite the strict monitoring and quarantine policies, a Fortune Times reporter found that most shoppers were not wearing masks at Alexandra Retail Center and other shopping centers yesterday. That may be partially caused by the insufficient supply of facial masks as quite a few Fairprice, Unity pharmacy, and Waston outlets were issuing notices that their masks have been sold out.
Some Chinese nationals living in Singapore have been reportedly buying masks to send or bring home, as shortages have arisen in some places as people rush to stock up in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
However, officials of MOH say that there will be sufficient masks available in Singapore if people use them sensibly and responsibly.
They say there is no need to rush to buy masks while the MOH is working with retailers like NTUC FairPrice and Unity Pharmacy to push out the stocks.
So far, the virus has infected more than 4,500 people and killed at least 106. It hit Asian markets yesterday, with Singapore stocks ending 1.8% lower.