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Reason for Not Closing off Singapore’s Borders

16th Feb 2021

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Leong Mun Wai
Non-Constituency Member of Parliament

Question No. 682

To ask the Minister for Health what is the reason for not closing our borders to travellers from India and Indonesia given the disproportionately large number of imported cases coming from these two countries.


International connectivity is critical to our economy and survival.  Singapore can ill afford to close ourselves off fully from the rest of the world.

We need a continued inflow of migrant workers to support our key economic sectors, including construction workers to build our homes and critical infrastructure, and foreign domestic workers (FDWs) to support the caregiving needs of our families. Many of such workers are from India and Indonesia.  If we close our borders to them, many Singaporeans will not be getting the keys to their homes, many households will have their FDWs delayed and will need to find alternative care arrangements for their loved ones, our economy will also slow down and the lives and livelihoods of many will be impacted. Some of the travellers are our citizens, permanent residents, or their close relatives here to visit them.  Therefore, we need to adopt a risk management approach to the inflow of these travellers rather than to close the borders to them entirely.  

These migrant workers and visitors are subject to a set of stringent precautionary measures to keep the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to our community low as possible.  These include pre-departure tests before they leave their country, on-arrival tests when they arrive in Singapore, and a 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) at dedicated facilities with another test before they complete their SHN and are allowed to leave the facility. As an added precaution, all newly arrived Work Permit and S Pass workers in Construction, Marine and Process (CMP) sectors are subject to an additional 7-day isolation and testing regime at a designated facility following their 14-day SHN.  Together, these measures help reduce the risk of transmission from newly arrived migrant workers into our  community.

As an additional line of defence to detect infections in the dormitories and high-risk workplaces early, workers in these settings such as those in the aviation, maritime and CMP sectors, are also required to undergo Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) at least every 14 days.

As the global situation evolves, the Multi-Ministry Task Force will continue to review our border control measures to strike a balance between public health considerations and the needs of our society and economy.


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