Singapore rejects migrants amid coronavirus panic 

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has rejected approximately 500 applications a day for work-pass holders with a travel history in China in measures to block the coronavirus. 

MOM said the measures were managing the inflow of the migrants. 

The ministry said it was approving an average of 220 applications per day.

MOM has revoked the work passes of 11 foreigners who breached the entry approval requirements by entering the Lion City, despite failing to secure approval.

They were sent home and permanently banned from working in Singapore and their employer’s work-pass rights were suspended for a year.

Penny Han of MOM’s work pass department said most firms had been compliant with the entry approval requirements, despite the short notice since the rules were imposed on February 9. 

“They understand the need for such measures to help Singapore manage the evolving Covid-19 situation and we are grateful for their support,” Han said.

“However, there remains a small minority who choose to blatantly disregard these safeguards. We would like to remind employers of the need to take these requirements seriously. The Covid-19 situation is still evolving and we cannot afford to be complacent.”

Unlike Thailand and South Korea, Singapore has not banned the export of face masks despite recording 89 coronavirus cases. 

Most shops ran out of stocks by mid-January after the first cases were confirmed.

In January the government released more than 5 million masks to retailers, which sold out within hours, national development minister Lawrence Wong said. 

Singapore’s Changi airport is stepping up coronavirus measures. 

The number of hand sanitisers in the terminals doubled from approximately 160 to more than 1,200, the Changi Airport Group (CAG) said. 

The frequency of cleaning has doubled with extra disinfecting of doorknobs, touchscreens, hand-railings, countertops, railings at taxi and bus queues, lift buttons, water coolers and play areas.

A disinfectant coating is being sprayed on some surfaces like automated check-in kiosks and automated bag-drop machines as an extra layer of protection. 

CAG said it “continues to advise members of the airport community to remain vigilant and observe good personal hygiene, and to take leave from work should they feel unwell”. 

Singapore Airlines and its subsidiary Silk Air have cancelled all flights to Indonesia Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei and Cambodia until the end of May due to weak demand because of the coronavirus.  




Overcrowding in Singapore makes virus control challenging. Picture credit: Wikimedia