Singapore closes borders to all Chinese travellers to stem spread of coronavirus
Singapore will close its borders to all new visitors from mainland China, including foreigners who have been there within the past 14 days.
It will become the first Southeast Asian country to do so in a bid to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The visa suspension will come into effect immediately, while the travel restriction will start at 11.59 pm on Saturday. Residents and citizens of Singapore who have been to China will be able to come into the city state, but will be subject to a 14-day leave of absence during which they are encouraged to stay at home.
China is one of Singapore’s biggest trading partners and is a popular destination for tourists from China. Figures from the Singapore Tourism Board showed that 248,000 travellers from China entered Singapore last November.
As of Friday, Singapore has 13 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, all of whom are travellers from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Health authorities have stressed that there is no evidence of community spread within the city state as of now. The coronavirus has infected almost 10,000 people around the world, killing 213. The World Health Organisation has declared the outbreak an international public health emergency.
National development minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs a multi-ministry task force to deal with the virus, said the outbreak had already impacted the economy and “will be going on for some time”.