SINGAPORE (June 15): Come 23:59 on June 17, Singaporeans returning from selected countries can serve their stay home notices (SHN) at home, instead of at dedicated facilities as is the current practice.

Long-term pass holders may serve their SHN at a place of residence owned or rented by themselves or their family. Otherwise, they can put up at an accommodation facility such as a hotel, at their own cost.

However, Singaporeans and long-term pass holders will still have to undergo a swab test for the coronavirus a few days before their SHN ends. They must also bear the cost of this, unlike the current practice where the government picks up the tab for the test and stay at the dedicated facility, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said at a Covid-19 multi-ministry taskforce briefing on Monday.

Countries these rules apply to include, Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mainland China, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Other travellers entering Singapore will continue to serve their SHN at dedicated facilities, which they will now have to bear the cost of. 

A Covid-19 test can cost up to $200, while a 14-day stay at a dedicated SHN facility can amount to some $2,000.

"Up to now, the costs of tests and SHN facilities have been borne by the Government," said Wong. "But looking ahead, as we reopen for more travel, we will want to move to a more sustainable position."

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is now looking to facilitate the return of more long-term pass holders in the coming weeks. These individuals will still have to obtain prior approval before entering Singapore, but Wong notes that the authorities have approved more applications, especially for those with deep roots in Singapore or have exigent circumstances.

The government is also looking into resuming business travel with necessary safeguards. For now, short-term visitations are not allowed except for those coming in under the “fast lane” arrangements or with special prior approval.

So far, Singapore commenced ‘fast lane’ travel with six Chinese provinces on June 8. These provinces include Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, as well as Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing – three cities with provincial status within China’s elaborate hierarchy.

See: 'Fast lane' travel between Singapore and China gets the green light to start on June 8