NOTICE PAPER NO. 1666
NOTICE OF QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER
FOR THE SITTING OF PARLIAMENT ON 6 FEBRUARY 2023
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Liang Eng Hwa
MP for Bukit Panjang
Question No. 4123
To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Ministry will review the need for SG Arrival Card for returning Singaporeans and residents; (b) whether the information obtained from the health declaration are significant to support public health surveillance efforts; and (c) whether such information can already be obtained from data captured in the immigration and other Government systems.
Mr Speaker, the Member asked me a Supplementary Question on this topic during my Ministerial Statement at the last sitting. I don’t think I gave a full nor clear answer so I thank him for the opportunity to answer this now.
In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, MOH reviewed our need for data collection at the borders and we decided to implement the digital SG Arrival Card system, for purposes of disease control. Specifically, we want to guard against importing infectious diseases of concern, such as Yellow Fever, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Ebola.
The SG Arrival Card system resulted in a few changes from past practices. First, previously, only foreigners are required to submit health information on a physical card. Now, all travellers are required to submit a health declaration because all travellers are subject to the risk of infectious diseases, not just the foreign travellers.
Second, the mode of submission was digitalised, and I hope has become more convenient.
Third, the information required has been streamlined and simplified to only three questions to ascertain the risk of a traveller being infected with the current diseases of concern.
Specifically, if I may elaborate, one question was targeted at yellow fever transmission. Travellers at risk of yellow fever infection and do not have a valid relevant vaccination certificate are assessed and may be quarantined to protect against the risk of importation of yellow fever in Singapore. This is a serious matter for Singapore because the Aedes aegypti mosquito vector that spreads yellow fever, is present in Singapore.
Another question is targeted at MERS-Coronavirus and Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. Travelers suspected of being infected can be referred for further medical assessment and isolation if necessary.
These are all dynamic information, based on their recent travel history and how they feel, and therefore not captured in existing Government systems.