Singapore to bar recent visitors to China

Singapore to bar recent visitors to China

Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk through the Chinatown area of Singapore on Friday. (Bloomberg photo)
Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk through the Chinatown area of Singapore on Friday. (Bloomberg photo)

SINGAPORE: Singapore said on Friday it was suspending entry to travellers with a recent history of travel to China and suspending visas for Chinese passport holders, to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The ban, effective from Saturday, will exempt Singaporean residents and work permit holders, the Health Ministry said, adding that it also will apply to those transiting through Singapore, a busy global travel hub.

The visa suspension will come into effect immediately so travellers can be informed in advance, while the travel restriction will start on Saturday night at 11.59pm (10.59pm Thai time), the South China Morning Post reported.

The island nation has China as one of its biggest trading partners and is a popular destination for Chinese tourists. Figures from the Singapore Tourism Board showed that 248,000 travellers from mainland China entered Singapore last November, while 3.42 million mainland Chinese tourists visited in 2018.

As of Friday, Singapore has 13 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, all of whom are travellers from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Health authorities have stressed that there is no evidence of community spread within the city state as of now.

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