The national COVID-19 task force has announced it will ban travel from India tonight onward as the number of cases and deaths explode in that country.
As of midnight, long-term pass holders and short-term visitors who had been in India in the last 14 days will not be allowed in the country, even to transit. The tightened measures come after India shattered all records by topping 300,000 cases in a single day this week, and the virus has reemerged at one of Singapore’s migrant worker dormitories.
It comes amid concern that a twice-mutated version of the virus is fueling that running rampant across the subcontinent.
“There is no evidence that the recent cases at the Westlite Woodlands Dormitory are linked to the new strain from India. But many of the arrivals from India are workers in the Construction, Marine and Process (CMP) sectors,” the Health Ministry said last night. “Even with our control measures, there is still a risk that a leak may happen, and cause another wave of infection in the dormitories.”
It said workers who were infected when the virus raced out of control last year in Singapore’s worker population risked re-infection as well.
New variants of the virus that have been detected in Singapore include those from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and India.
The travel restriction will apply even to those who had obtained prior approval to enter Singapore. Those currently serving 14-day quarantine after arriving from India will have to be isolated an additional seven days at a dedicated facility, and undergo tests on days 14 and 21 of their isolation.
The Health Ministry also confirmed that 17 previously recovered workers at Westlite Woodlands have tested positive for COVID-19 again, instead of the 10 reported earlier. Health officials were determining whether the results came from their original infection or a second. They were detected through mass testing that took place after a 35-year-old Bangladeshi worker was confirmed with the infection, followed by his roommate. Those living in affected dormitory blocks have been quarantined.
Both Health and Manpower ministries said those who have recovered from COVID-19 may lose their immunity to the virus after some time. Dorm residents who recovered from COVID-19 after more than 270 days will be required to undergo routine testing, they said.
“Immunity in recovered persons can wane, and caution is required around the infection risks in recovered persons,” the ministry added.