Travellers already in quarantine express dismay over 7-day SHN extension

a view of a city at night © The Independent Singapore

Singapore—The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced new restrictions on travellers from high-risk countries on Tuesday (May 4).  All travellers coming from these countries are now subject to 21-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at dedicated SHN facilities.

The 21-day SHN now applies to travellers from almost everywhere, except Australia, Brunei, mainland China, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao.

On the Singapore Hotel Quarantine Information & Experience Facebook group page, some affected travellers are expressing concern about the added cost and other factors, with others saying they now want to go back to where they came from.

The private group page, which has over 19,000 members, was formed last year for travellers to Singapore to exchange information and experiences about the mandatory quarantine. 

It has been a friendly space for its members, who pass on tips on how to make the time pass quickly, what the parents of young children need to pack, where to order the best food when one gets tired of hotel fare, and so on.

But the news of the additional seven-day SHN for those coming from high-risk regions and countries, even for those already in quarantine, was greeted with dismay.

Note: As the group is a private one, we will not publish names or screenshots of posts and comments.

One traveller wrote with alarm that he did not want to pay for the additional week in a hotel.

The 14-day SHN cost S$2,000 and “we calculated based on this sum”, he wrote.

He added that “the Authorities” should pay the additional amount since he “did not budget for it!”

Another netizen sympathised, commenting he had just paid the S$2000, and a few hours later the seven-day extension was announced.

Others advised the irate traveller to ask for special consideration, although some chimed in that this seems unlikely. But one commenter pointed out that there is an option to appeal for a waiver on financial grounds on the website of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

Some commenters said they were told by ICA that the extension would cost an additional S$1000 for single travellers, and S$1,300 for two people.

table © The Independent Singapore

One traveller called the extension a “knee-jerk” reaction from the Singaporean government, in comparison to Taiwan where a recent cluster of infections did not result in measures that included an extension of quarantine for travellers.

However, though a number of commenters sympathised with the poster, they also underlined the need for additional health and safety measures, and added that because the world is still in the grip of the pandemic, people need to be flexible and make adjustments as situations can change very quickly.

One poster wrote that he has been in Singapore for two days, but with the news of the SHN, is exploring the possibility of flying back. But other commenters quickly told him this would not be possible for at least 21 days.

/TISG

Travellers already in quarantine express dismay over 7-day SHN extension