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People's Daily Online

Singapore bans visitors from 4 European countries, imposes limit on gatherings in fighting COVID-19

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 16:58, March 13, 2020

SINGAPORE, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Singapore will impose travel restrictions on visitors from Italy, France, Spain and Germany, and limit the size of gatherings to no more than 250 people, authorities announced here Friday.

The measures were announced by Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong and Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, who co-chair the Multi-Ministry Taskforce to combat the COVID-19.

Speaking at a press conference, Wong said Singapore will impose additional travel restrictions on the four European countries, in order to limit the number of imported cases into Singapore.

Starting from 11:59 p.m. on March 15, visitors who have been to the four countries for the past 14 days will not be allowed to enter or transit in Singapore. Singapore had earlier issued travel restrictions regarding travelers from northern Italy, and this time the ban was enhanced to include the whole country.

Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders who had been to the four European countries within the last 14 days must stay home at all times for 14 days after returning to Singapore.

For all incoming travelers to Singapore who have fever or other respiratory symptoms at the checkpoints, in addition to the compulsory coronavirus swab test that rolled out earlier, all of them are asked to fulfil a 14-day stay-at-home requirement, including those whose test results are negative, Wong added.

The test result may not be "sufficient assurance," because that person who is already exhibiting some symptoms - be it fever or respiratory symptoms - may be just going through the incubation stage of the virus, so the swab test may well be negative, he explained.

In another development, Singapore will cease port calls for all cruise vessels with immediate effect.

Domestically, Singapore highlighted suspension of social activities as part of social distancing.

Social gatherings are advised to be kept within the size of 250 people, Wong said. The participants must be seated at least 1 meter apart from one another, and reduce contact such as by not shaking hands.

Moreover, all ticketed cultural, sports and entertainment events, with 250 participants or more, must be deferred or cancelled. Employers should put in place measures to reduce close contact such as implementing tele-commuting and video-conferencing, staggering work hours and allowing staff to commute at off-peak hours.

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