On Sunday, May 24, Singapore's aviation regulator announced that Changi Airport (SIN) would gradually reopen to travelers for transit from Wednesday, June 2. Currently, transit through SIN is only permitted if passengers are on repatriation flights, a measure taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Operations at SIN's terminal 2 remain suspended for 18 months from May 1.
The announcement comes as Singapore prepares to start a phased lifting of COVID-19 restrictions from June 2, with economic activities that do not carry a high risk of COVID-19 transmission allowed to resume. During this period, members of the public will continue to remain in their homes unless conducting essential activities and should wear a face mask when doing so. Phase one is expected to remain in place for four weeks, after which, depending on case numbers, phase two will be allowed to commence. Under phase two regulations, small social gatherings will be permitted. More businesses, including gyms, tuition centers, and retail outlets, will be allowed to reopen with appropriate safety measures in place. Outdoor facilities will also be allowed to open. When phase three is introduced, social, cultural, religious, and business gatherings will be permitted to resume; however, the sizes of these gatherings will be limited.
On April 25, Singapore Airlines (SIA) announced that flight capacity would be reduced by 96 percent through the end of June. As such, the airline now only operates flights to 15 cities during this period, and approximately 10 of SIA's 200 aircraft remain in service.
Other containment measures remain in place as of May 25. The use of face masks is compulsory in public spaces and those who do not comply will face a fine. There are exemptions for those conducting strenuous exercise, such as running, and for children below the age of two. Around 20 percent of Singapore's workforce continues to commute to their place of employment as essential workers. A ban on all social gatherings in homes and public spaces remain in effect. Private gatherings, such as parties or gatherings with family and friends who do not live together, are included in these restrictions.
An entry ban on all short-term visitors remains in place. Only work pass holders, and their dependents, who provide essential services, such as healthcare and transport, will be allowed to enter the country with approval from the Ministry of Manpower. Malaysians with Singapore work permits will continue to be able to work in Singapore. All Singaporean citizens, permanent residents, long-term pass holders, and work pass holders entering the country will be issued a 14-day Stay at Home Notice (SHN) at dedicated facilities.
As of May 25, there are 31,616 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 23 associated fatalities in the country. Further international spread of the virus is to be 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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