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Health declaration supports public health surveillance efforts at borders

We refer to Mr Cheng Shoong Tat’s letter “Time to do away with SG Arrival Cards for Singapore residents” (Feb 23).

Singapore’s interconnectivity to the world makes us vulnerable to the importation of infectious diseases. Unlike some other countries with the Aedes mosquito, yellow fever is not endemic in Singapore. Other diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and ebola have also posed threats of importation and local spread.

Border measures such as health declaration facilitate early detection of high-risk travellers and prevent such infectious diseases from taking root in Singapore for as long as possible.

We will review the need for the health declaration if and when these diseases become endemic in Singapore.

All travellers, including Singapore residents, are therefore required to submit a health declaration because all travellers are subject to the risk of getting infectious diseases.

The mode of submission was digitalised with the SG Arrival Card to make it more convenient for incoming travellers.

Data collection using the health declaration is regularly reviewed to minimise the information required and make it less onerous on travellers. As we have transited out of the pandemic, the information required in the health declaration was simplified in February 2023 to only two questions to ascertain the risk of a traveller being infected with the current diseases of concern.

Vernon Lee (Professor)
Group Director, Communicable Diseases Group
Ministry of Health

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