The coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) outbreak may bring challenging economic times globally, but Singapore has so far managed to effectively handle the world’s one of the worst pandemics in history. The Asian city-state has been hailed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an exemplar of effective detection and containment.
Singapore accounted for 200 out of the roughly 145,000 infections reported worldwide as of March 14, 2020. Ninety-seven of the patients had already been discharged, with not a single death. Local health authorities’ carefully calibrated measures to control the outbreak are backed by some built-in advantages: a top-notch health system, draconian tracing and containment measures, and a small population that’s largely accepting of government’s expansive orders.
What the Government Has Done So Far
Last month, Singapore announced its most-expansionary budget since 1997 to combat the virus. It was one of the first countries to impose restrictions on anyone with recent travel history to China and parts of South Korea. The government provided a strict hospital and home quarantine regimen for potentially infected patients and is extensively tracing anyone they may have been in contact with.
Visitors who had traveled from coronavirus-affected countries including Indonesia have been charged for medical treatment. This new measure came into effect on March 7, when authorities said two symptomatic Indonesian travelers arrived in the Garden City. Meanwhile, testing for the virus remains free.
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Late last month, the government revoked a 45-year-old man’s permanent residency status and then banned him from the country for good, because he had defied a “stay home” order. Two Chinese visitors have also been charged for giving false information about their whereabouts, under Singapore’s Infectious Diseases Act.
Singapore’s authorities also have a coronavirus battle plan called “contact tracing”. Its purpose is to track the steps of patients to find other potential cases, with the help of the police. The plan involves interviewing patients, calling their contacts and even collecting data on their movements from transport operators.
General Advice for Visitors & Expats in Singapore
Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Singapore Government has implemented a series of measures to reduce the risk of imported cases and community transmission. If you are planning on visiting or working in Singapore in the near future, this general advice can be a very helpful guidance for you.
For all visitors who have just traveled from China, Iran, Northern Italy and Republic of Korea (travel restrictions for those who come from these countries have been effective since March 4, 2020):
- If you have recent travel history to Mainland China, Iran, Northern Italy and Republic of Korea within the last 20 days, you will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or to transit through Singapore.
- The issuance of all forms of new visas to those with PRC Passports has been suspended by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). Singapore’s status as a visa-free transit facility for those with PRC and Iranian passports has also been suspended.
- Previously issued short-term and multiple-visit visas for those with PRC and Iranian passports have also been suspended. During this period of suspension, they will not be allowed entry into Singapore. For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health (MOH)’s website.
Covid-19 Swab Test
If you are entering Singapore and exhibiting fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness, yet do not meet the clinical suspect case definition, you may be required to undergo a COVID-19 swab test at the checkpoint. You may carry on with your journey immediately after undergoing the test.
Since the test results may take between three to six hours, you are advised to minimise contact with others as a precautionary measure. You will be contacted on your swab test results. If the results are positive, you will be conveyed to the hospital in a dedicated ambulance.
Medical Check Up
You are required to monitor your health closely for 2 weeks upon entering Singapore and seek medical attention right away if you feel unwell. You should also inform your doctor of your travel history. If you have a fever or respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, runny nose), you should wear a mask and call the clinic ahead of the visit.
Coronavirus Impact on Singapore’s Stock Market
Despite being singled out by several analysts as one of the most economically vulnerable to the virus spread, Singapore dollar money market and foreign exchange market are functioning normally (stated by The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on March 13, 2020).
Singapore’s stock has also been picked as one of coronavirus shelters by Morgan Stanley. The New York-based investment bank upgraded stocks of Singapore, China, and Australia in its model allocation for Asia Pacific and emerging markets, citing expectations of further policy stimulus amid the widening public health emergency and cheaper relative valuations.
With its coronavirus effective detection and containment, as well as its ability to maintain the financial market stability, Singapore is undoubtedly still one of the best destinations to start a business in 2020. If you are a foreigner planning on setting up a business in the city-state, getting assistance from an expert advisor will be the right choice to help you with the administrations and requirement fulfillment. Contact us to get full-fledged corporate solutions and consultancy services.