Singaporean traveller from China severely ill from COVID-19, MOH monitoring new variants & reviewing border measures

SINGAPORE — With Changi Airport seeing between 700 and 1,000 daily arrivals from China, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is now closely monitoring the hospital workload after a Singaporean traveller from China has become severely ill from Covid-19. MOH addressed the public concern about high levels of infections in China through a press release on Friday (Dec 30).

The majority of daily arrivals to Singapore comprised residents and long-term pass holders. On a weekly basis, MOH has detected between 40 and 80 Covid-19 cases among travellers. All travellers exhibited mild symptoms, except the case of the Singaporean who fell severely ill after his recent travel to China.

The agency said it is keeping a close watch on the global Covid-19 situation, specifically on the emergence of new variants, and that travellers don’t significantly burden hospitals. MOH is ready to reinstate border health measures for selected countries if warranted by the public health situation.

“As air travel with China is progressively restored, we will take a cautious approach towards increasing seat capacity, taking into account the overall public health assessment,” said MOH. It noted that Singapore did not fully lift public health-related border measures, unlike many countries.

Non-fully vaccinated travellers entering Singapore continue to require a pre-departure test (PDT) within two days before departure, while non-fully vaccinated short-term visitors need travel insurance with a minimum coverage of S$30,000 for Covid-19 related medical expenses. All air and sea travellers must also submit a health declaration upon arrival.

“These measures reduce the risk of having severely ill imported cases, which can take up our healthcare capacity. At this juncture, we will continue to maintain these prevailing vaccination requirements and border measures for non-fully vaccinated travellers,” said MOH.

“At this stage of the pandemic, the most important factor is our population immunity. “We cannot completely stop infections, and indeed the virus has continued to circulate in our communities, but we can ensure that infections result in few cases of hospitalisations and severe illnesses,” said MOH.

Following China’s latest announcements that it would relax border measures on Jan 8, 2023, India, Italy, Japan, and the United States have implemented new testing requirements for all travellers from China. Other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, most European Union countries and other Southeast Asian countries are also monitoring the situation closely. /TISG

‘Singapore needs to restrict travellers to/from China’ — Netizens

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