Singaporean authorities have made the use of face masks compulsory in public spaces as of Tuesday, April 14, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Those who do not comply with the new order face a fine. There are exemptions for those conducting strenuous exercise, such as running, and for children below the age of two. The government also stated on Tuesday that it was looking to trim down the number of services that are deemed essential. Around 20 percent of Singapore's workforce continues to commute to their place of employment as essential workers.
On Thursday, April 9, Jetstar Asia extended its suspension of all flights until Tuesday, May 19. The company cited ongoing border restrictions throughout Asia and the introduction of stricter measures by the Singaporean government to contain COVID-19 as reasons for the decision. The airline previously announced the grounding of its fleet between Monday, March 23, and Wednesday, April 15. Jetstar Asia has offered a full refund through a travel credit voucher to all affected customers.
On Tuesday, April 7, the government passed a new law in parliament banning all social gatherings in homes and public spaces to curb the spread of COVID-19. Private gatherings such as parties or gatherings with family and friends who do not live together are also included in the restrictions. Under the new law, the government will also be allowed to restrict individuals' movements and interactions at their residence and in public areas. According to authorities, the law will be valid for at least six months, and could be extended for up to one year.
On Monday, April 6, Singaporean Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan announced in Parliament that Terminal 2 at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) will suspend all operations for 18 months from Friday, May 1. Moreover, as of Monday, scheduled flight operations will be rediverted to the airport's other terminals.
Meanwhile, an entry ban on all short-term visitors introduced on Sunday, March 23, remains in place. The Ministry of Manpower announced that only work pass holders, and their dependents, who provide essential services, such as healthcare and transport, will be allowed to enter the country. Malaysians with Singapore work permits will continue to be able to work in Singapore. All Singaporean citizens, permanent residents, and long-term pass holders returning to the country will be issued a 14-day Stay at Home Notice (SHN) and must remain in their place of residence at all times.
As of Wednesday, April 15, there are 3252 confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases nationwide, with ten associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
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 (Hubei province, 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 quarantine measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble 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.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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