In view of the deadly Coronavirus outbreak, Singapore has decided to close its borders for all new visitors from China, becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to do so.
The country's move is aimed to curb the spread of the deadly virus which also includes foreigners who travelled to Singapore in the past 14 days, South China Morning Post (SMCP) reported. While the visas will be suspended immediately, the travel restriction will begin at 11:59 pm on Saturday.
Singaporean residents and citizens who travelled to China will be able to return to the state, but they will be subject to a 14-day leave of absence during which they are encouraged to stay at home, as per SCMP report.
The announcement came a day after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned the nations that closing down borders with China could be ineffective and that such a decision could result in a greater spread of the deadly virus.
In a bid to increase precautionary measures against the fast-spreading Coronavirus which has claimed 213 lives in China, Singapore students were instructed to clear out their dorms so that they may be turned into isolation wards for their peers. The decision came soon after the country confirmed five cases of the deadly virus.
Singapore in a recent statement had announced that it is trying to get in contact with around 2,000 people that recently travelled to Hubei province in China. Back in 2003, Singapore, that is a travel and tourism hub was hit hard by the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus too.
Students returning from China and especially the Hubei province were being isolated and quarantined immediately upon their return. As per a UN report, students from mainland China make up the largest group of international students because they are drawn by Singapore's multiple top-ranked universities.
Local media had reported that military facilities and other structures were being used for the purpose of isolating the infected. The authorities have also announced that the individuals that do not comply with the quarantine orders could be fined up to $10,000 or jailed for up to 6 months or both.
(Image source: AP)