Singapore Lifts Travel Ban Imposed On 10 African Countries

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SINGAPORE, Dec 27 (PTI): Singapore has lifted the ban it imposed on 10 African countries over the Omicron variant of coronavirus, while authorities expect a rapid doubling of cases in the coming days.

Passengers arriving in Singapore with travel history to Botswana, Eswatini, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe within the past 14 days will come under the country’s Category IV border measures from 11.59 pm on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said it expects a new wave of local cases “soon” given the higher transmissibility of the Omicron variant.

“In the coming days and weeks, we should expect more community (local) cases and rapid doubling of cases. This is again a process we need to go through, in order to live with COVID-19,” it said.

“However, the peak of the wave can be blunted and we can avoid overwhelming our healthcare system again if everyone plays their part to get their vaccinations and booster doses, self-test regularly and self-isolate if tested positive,” the Channel News Asia quoting the MoH said.

In particular, those who have recently arrived from overseas or been in contact with an infected person should reduce their social interactions.

“We have done whatever we can to prepare ourselves for it; especially in administering boosters to our population and starting vaccinations for our children. We seek the cooperation and understanding of everyone, as we weather through an Omicron wave in the next one to two months,” the channel quoting the ministry said.

Instead of being isolated in dedicated facilities by default, Omicron cases will be placed on home recovery or treated at community care facilities depending on their clinical presentation, the channel reported.

This means the travellers with links to these countries must take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within two days before departure to Singapore, as well as an on-arrival PCR test. They will also have to serve a 10-day stay-home notice at a dedicated facility. Another PCR test will be administered at the end of their quarantine period.

As of Saturday, Singapore has detected 546 confirmed Omicron cases comprising 443 imported cases and 103 local infections.

On Sunday, Singapore reported 209 new COVID-19 cases, 100 of which were imported or those arriving here.

There was also one fatality, taking the country’s death toll from coronavirus complications to 822.

As of Sunday, Singapore has recorded 2,77,764 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.




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