Singapore, Thailand strengthen measures to cope with COVID-19 outbreak hinh anh 1Travellers arrive at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on February 14, 2020. (Photo:

Singapore (VNA) - Singapore will roll out a new stay-home notice for its residents and long-term pass holders returning from mainland China as part of efforts to respond to the acute respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

They will be required to stay at home at all times for 14 days, according to Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong.

He said the new scheme will take effect from 23:59 on February 18, and apply to all returnees with recent travel history to China, outside of Hubei province, within the last 14 days.

This will be stricter than the current leave of absence (LOA), which allow those returning to leave their homes briefly for their meals or to buy household supplies.

The stay-home notice is given in the context that there are a substantial number of Singaporean nationals and long-term pass holders still in China, and they will come bank to Singapore in the coming time.

Wong said the measure is suitable at present as it will help reduce the number of COVID-19 infected cases.

Enforcement officers will carry out random calls and spot checks, among other measures, to ensure that those serving out the stay-home notice comply with requirements.

There are penalties for those who flout the rules, Wong said, giving foreigners may get their work or long-term passes revoked while Singaporeans could be prosecuted under the Infectious Diseases Act. Under the Act, first-time offenders can be fined up to 10,000 SGD (7,100 USD), jailed for up to six month, or both.

Meanwhile, a network of 900 designated clinics is being activated progressively from February 18 to help Singaporean authorities better detect and manage the virus outbreak.

There have been a total of 77 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the nation.

While in Thailand, health authorities have extended coronavirus screening to cover visitors from Japan and Singapore while denying entry to passengers and crew of the MS Westerdam cruise ship which is now berthed in Cambodia.

According to Permanent Secretary of the Public Health Ministry Sukhum Kanchanapimai, the screening method will be the same as that used on passengers from Wuhan. Earlier, intensive screening was already in place for arrivals from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

On February 17, Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul announced the ban on passengers and crew from the ship from entering Thailand. The decision came after an 83-year-old US female passenger tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival in Malaysia.
He had ordered all Thai airlines not to issue boarding passes to anyone who had been on MS Westerdam for the next 14 days.

The ministry also advised Thai citizens to postpone their trips to Singapore and Japan as the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing in the two countries.

Thailand’s COVID-19 cases have risen to 35 so far, while no deaths have been reported./.