Singapore closes boarder to Short Term Visitors from March 23 2359 : Is this enough?



History has been made.



Singapore had approximately 19 million visitors in 2019.  For the first time in the nation's young history, we had close our doors to Short Term Visitors due to Covid-19.  From Monday (March 23) 1159, all short term visitors will not be allowed to enter or transit from Singapore, effectively shutting our borders to the World.

This is a big step that the nation will be making. Singapore had tried to avoid this since the outbreak of COVID-19 by taking measured steps to control the spread. From the banning of Short Term Visitors from Mainland China, South Korea, Iran and selected European countries to issuing of SHN for visitors from yesterday, these had proven to be insufficient as confirmed cases continue to spike from overseas. As of Saturday, there were still 533 ST Visitors in Singapore



Who is not allowed in 

  • Short Term Visitors from ALL countries will be denied entry and transit in Singapore

  • Work Pass Holders and Dependants will be allowed to return to Singapore only if they work in sectors that provide essential services such as healthcare and transport. The discretion is with the Ministry of Manpower.


Who is allowed in

  • Singapore Citizens, PRs and Long Term Pass holders
  • Malaysians with Singapore Work Permits can continue to work in Singapore with accommodation arrangements
  • Diplomats accredited and base in Singapore can continue to come


Prior to this announcement, we had called for more action to be done. Even though the majority of the confirmed cases are Singapore Residents and LTP holders, there is a risk that ST visitors may add to the numbers in the near future especially if their own country is overwhelmed by COVID19. Simply slapping a Stay Home Notice (SHN) is a punitive measure that would not stop those who are determined to get into Singapore for treatment



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Uncannily, the announcement made on the ban mirrored our views.

"He noted that while very few short-term visitors have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, they can take up enforcement and medical resources. 
"During this time, we have to focus our resources on returning Singaporeans," he said."

Source ST

Is this Enough?


While this is a good measure to stem out any potential spikes from ST visitors, it does not necessarily address the real issue here. The spike in the numbers is the result of Singapore residents opting to travel overseas for holidays and non-essential travels despite the ongoing pandemic. With most arriving from USA and UK, it seem that they choose to ignore the warning signs in return for an overseas jaunt.

We do believe by now, most would choose to stay in Singapore. With the majority of countries closing their borders or locking down cities, it would be hard for one to venture aboard. Nonetheless, there are still holidaymakers who choose to ignore the risks and planning for trips to countries that have yet closed the borders.

The Government had introduced measures such as SNH and removal of annual leave for such groups. We think they should go one further with the removal of Free COVID19 treatment for confirmed cases as this remains as a 'safety net' for travellers. Add a fine in for good measure and it will deter them. We think it is about time Singapore residents be responsible for their own actions, especially if it has a direct implication on the country.


If this is not enough, consider an all-out ban on travels overseas. The last measure is not a lockdown. It is just one that will save the nation from further strain to the system.

If only it was implemented when the pandemic spreads back in March.








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