Singapore would, starting January 4, block entry of all travellers who had recently visited South Africa, country’s health ministry said. The move that is aimed at curbing the spread of 501.V2 comes after a few parts of the country reported cases of the coronavirus variant. Meanwhile, the mutant virus has spread to countries as far as the UK and Japan since its initial discovery on the African continent in mid-December.
"There have been recent reports of a potentially more contagious strain of the COVID-19 virus circulating in South Africa. To reduce the risks of spread to Singapore, we are putting in place new border restrictions for travellers from South Africa for further precaution. From 03 January 2021, 2359 hours, until further notice," the ministry stated.
In a statement, the ministry stated that all long term pass holders and short term visitors with travel history to South Africa within the last 14 days would not be allowed to enter or even transit through it. Long Term pass holders include foreign workers and people in non-essential businesses. However, in an exception, all returning Singapore citizens and permanent residents would be allowed but require to undergo a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival at the start of a 14-day quarantine.
There have been recent reports of a potentially more contagious strain of the COVID-19 virus circulating in South Africa. To reduce the risk of spread to Singapore, we will be tightening border measures for travellers from South Africa. https://t.co/QWNzr9GIXH— Ministry of Health (@sporeMOH) January 1, 2021
Recently, France detected its first case of the South African variant of coronavirus, health ministry confirmed on December 31. The mutant virus named 501.V2, was detected on the African continent in mid-December and since then has spread to countries as far as the UK and Japan. France, one of the most affected European nation has reported over 26,77,666 cases and over 64,759 fatalities till now.
As per a statement by the health ministry, the infection was found in a man who had returned after a brief stay in South Africa. The unidentified man is reported to be a resident of Haut-Rhin region which borders Switzerland. Upon, his return, the man had undergone the RT-PCR test following symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.