A no-quarantine entry policy for vaccinated arrivals in Singapore will not be extended to other countries at this time.
Singapore will suspend further reopening measures while it assesses the Omicron coronavirus variant and increases testing of travelers and frontline workers to reduce the risk of local transmission, authorities say.
A no-quarantine entry policy for vaccinated arrivals in the Asian financial and travel hub will not be extended to more countries at this time, while current social distancing measures will remain in place, the Minister of Health said on Tuesday. Health Ong Ye Kung.
“It is a prudent thing to do for now, as we face major uncertainty,” Ong said at a press briefing, adding that the variant had not yet been detected locally.
Singapore will prioritize the use of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests produced by Thermo Fisher for travelers. Thermo Fisher has stated that it is able to detect the Omicron variant.
All Omicron cases found in Singapore will be placed in public health facilities rather than the home isolation used so far for mild cases of COVID-19.
Ong said Singapore’s high vaccination rate should provide some protection against the variant.
Here are the details of the actions Singapore will take:
- As of December 3, all air travelers entering or transiting Singapore must pass a polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test on arrival,
- People entering through the vaccinated airways will need to undergo additional supervised rapid COVID tests three and seven days after arrival,
- The enhanced testing measures for inbound travelers will initially last one month,
- Frontline airport and border officers in contact with travelers in areas affected by Omicron will need to undergo weekly PCR tests,
- Travelers from seven African states who entered Singapore between November 12 and 27 will be required to take one-off PCR tests,
- Patients with confirmed or suspected Omicron infection will need to be quarantined for 10 days at government facilities.
The measures come at a time when nations around the world disagree on how best to protect against a variant for which there is little information and which has now been found in places ranging from South Africa to Spain, Canada and Australia.
For Singapore, a small city-state that has maintained strict restrictions since the start of the pandemic, Omicron has raised concerns among the population that the government will have to reconsider its approach to reopening the borders at a time when travel in general. are just beginning.
The Southeast Asian nation, which is highly exposed to global trade winds and geopolitics, has moved away from a COVID-Zero approach to living with the virus.
With 85% of its population fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the new infections stabilized, Singapore recently allowed people from different households to dine together in restaurants and socialize. It had also gradually expanded its vaccine lane program to more countries before delaying those with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as a precautionary measure amid concerns over Omicron.