Many Chinese nationals are having trouble leaving Singapore as they are reportedly unable to get tested for Covid-19 anywhere in the city, leaving them without the required certificate to board flights back home.
Several dozen people gathered at the Chinese Embassy to draw attention to the lack of proper coordination after China instituted a mandatory Covid test for all passengers flying back to the mainland after many arrivals from Singapore tested positive.
The requirement to present a C-19 health certificate (PCR Test) has been put into place by China and many other countries to avoid infected individuals on the plane being a danger to other passengers and having to deal with dangerous situations upon arrival. Only those who can provide an “all clear” are allowed to fly back.
As Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reports this causes problem for those seeking to fly back from Singapore as apparently no medical facility in the city provides the option to get tested and certified without symptoms.
Dozens of Chinese nationals gathered outside their embassy in Singapore on Tuesday in frustration over new rules requiring them to get tested for Covid-19 before they can board their upcoming flights home, something Singapore does not generally offer to those without symptoms.
“No hospital in Singapore will perform a test for me,” said a 28-year-old warehouse manager who gave his surname as Wang. He is scheduled to fly to the western city of Chongqing at the end of the month. “Booking a flight is very tough now and I don’t want to miss my flight.”
The crowd surrounded flustered embassy officials and grew raucous, even as a police vehicle arrived. The new requirements from China, were instituted after dozens of passengers from Singapore tested positive in virus tests after landing there. …
In recent weeks, at least three flights departing from Singapore have hit the “circuit breaker” instituted by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, which triggers a week-long suspension of routes where five passengers on-board test positive. If 10 or more infections are found, the suspension grows to at least one month. …
The situation may affect the continued operation of Singapore’s travel corridor with China, an arrangement that started in June and is termed a “green lane”.
Those going through the green lane on essential or business travel can avoid the usual two weeks of quarantine upon arrival, provided they test negative before departure and upon landing.
The frustrated Chinese nationals gathered outside the embassy on Tuesday said that they could not get a virus test from any Singapore medical facility without displaying symptoms. Those interviewed were not travelling via the green lane and were mostly lower-wage workers prepared to undergo two weeks of quarantine upon reaching home.
Under the new rules, they will not be able to board their flights without a negative test result.
Singapore’s health ministry said late on Tuesday on its website that travellers could seek help in light of the new rules from China. Still, it reiterated its strategy focused on “diagnostic testing and active case finding” and that pre-departure testing is reserved for those using the green lane.
This is a highly problematic situation. There is no press release from the Singapore Ministry of Health regarding this matter at the moment and given the situation that there were already several infected passengers on previous flights to China to the point of triggering suspension of flight services.
There is no logical explanation why there aren’t any private testing options are available in Singapore like there are in other countries while at the same time the hospitals refuse to administer tests as well for purposes of travel certification (repatriation).
Normally I wouldn’t take the complaints of a few screaming people in front of the Chinese embassy at face value but the MOH’s position is insufficient in this case and the government essentially admitted that the situation is just as described by the individuals in the article.
What’s the reason for refusing to test people due for repatriation? Is Singapore scared to show up with increased case numbers in the statistics again? They already had huge problems with Covid cases, especially in the dormitories where migrant workers are being housed – often in deplorable conditions.
All the while the government tries put “lipstick on a pig” saying there is pretty much no community spread, their official lingo for “anywhere but the migrant worker areas”. Apparently in the Singapore Governments view it’s all not too serious as long as the outbreak is contained to the quarters of poor foreigners that were imported to complete the glamorous construction projects in the city.
According to the official statistics Singapore has so far processed 1.75 Million tests. That’s no small number considering the population of 5.8 Million. The real question is: Who were these tests performed on if the number is accurate? Did all these 1.75M people show some type of symptoms as required per MOH’s policy or were they citizens/PR who can just show up for a test without giving any reason?
It really shouldn’t be a problem to set up testing facilities in order to process a C-19 test and charge a nominal fee for it. The numbers of tests so far show that it’s clearly not a capacity problem. The only reasonable explanation is that the authorities are afraid of people flunking the test and then push up the official numbers in the statistic again.
It’s clear that these tests are a government requirement so they should get it done and make sure that the affected individuals can return home. It should also be in the authorities interest to see foreigners departing the country and to a degree I also believe the government owes it to people to provide the relevant services after using these workers as cheap labor previously.