Singapore Bars Visitor Entry, Limit Foreign Worker Returns

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Singapore said it will bar all short-term visitors and limit foreign workers from entering to reduce the risk of imported cases of the coronavirus.

The government will allow the entry or return of work-permit holders to those providing essential services in sectors such as health-care and transport, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs a ministerial task force to tackle the virus, said at a briefing on Sunday.

Holders of various visas or passes, which allow them to work and live in Singapore, risk not being allowed back in soon should they decide to leave the island now, Wong said.

The minister said it isn’t clear how long the restrictions on short-term visitors, which effectively starts on Tuesday, will last. Even with such visitors facing a 14-day quarantine upon arrival, 533 arrived in Singapore on Saturday, the government said.

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“Resources were being expended to serve and enforce” quarantine rules for short-term visitors, the government said. The move to bar them “is also to conserve resources so we can focus on Singaporeans.”

Singapore on Saturday reported 47 more confirmed infections, matching a previous one-day record gain and of which 39 were imported cases.

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Almost 80% of new cases in the three days to March 21 were imported, most of them Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning home from abroad, the government said. The imported cases had travel histories to 22 countries, it said.

Wong also said that Singapore residents who insist on traveling could face consequences for their actions, adding that the penalties are still being deliberated.

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