The Minister for National Development, Lawrence Wong, announced on Tuesday, March 3, the expansion of travel entry bans due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Foreign nationals having traveled from or transited through Iran, northern Italy, South Korea, Japan, or mainland China in the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to Singapore will be denied entry as of 23:59 (local time) on Wednesday, March 4. Singapore citizens, residents, and long-term pass holders will be allowed entry but are required to undergo home quarantine upon their return. The government also issued a travel advisory warning against all non-essential travel to the aforementioned countries, and to defer all travel to Hubei province (China).
Singapore Airlines and SilkAir have announced reduced service across their networks between March and May 2020, due to lower demand. Affected customers will be notified and re-accommodated onto other flights. Further information can be found on the Singapore Airlines website here.
As of Tuesday, health officials have confirmed 110 cases of COVID-19 nationwide - of which, 78 individuals have recovered and been discharged from hospital. The Ministry of Health's Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level remains at "orange" (the second highest on a four-tier scale). Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected in the coming days and weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
To reduce the general risk of transmission, individuals are advised to abide the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
- If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, individuals are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.
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