Singapore closes border to short-term visitors, foreign labourers

- A Monitor Desk Report 23 Mar, 2020 | 1274 Views|-+
Dhaka: A day after Singapore confirmed its first two coronavirus-related deaths, the country said it would close its borders to short-term visitors and some foreign labourers from 11:59 pm (15:59 GMT) on March 23 to help limit the spread of the disease.

The new rules mean short-term visitors will no longer be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore, while semi-skilled workers on "work passes" will not be allowed to return to the island unless their job is in sectors that provide essential services such as healthcare and transport, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said in a statement.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong told a briefing on March 22 the measures to "significantly tighten" Singapore's borders had been prompted by the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world.

"In Singapore, almost 80 per cent of our new COVID-19 cases over the past three days were imported, most of them Singapore residents and Long Term Pass holders returning home from abroad. These imported cases had travel histories to 22 different countries", the MoH statement said.

Widely praised for its aggressive efforts to contain the virus without resorting to a total lockdown of the city, Singapore reported the country's first deaths from the disease on March 21.

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