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[BREAKING NEWS] Singapore upgraded travel advisory to deferring ALL TRAVEL aboard! :O

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Old 21-11-2020, 04:11 PM   #1216
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NO NEW CASES OF LOCALLY TRANSMITTED COVID-19 INFECTION

21ST NOV 2020

As of 21 November 2020, 12pm, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has preliminarily confirmed that there are no new cases of locally transmitted COVID-19 infection.

2. There are 5 imported cases, who had already been placed on Stay-Home Notice upon arrival in Singapore.

3. We are still working through the details of the cases, and further updates will be shared via the MOH press release that will be issued tonight.



MINISTRY OF HEALTH
21 NOVEMBER 2020

https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highligh...nfection-21nov
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Old 22-11-2020, 12:18 AM   #1217
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Going to Singapore? From Monday, all travellers leaving from Malaysia subject to 14-day quarantine at centres

Saturday, 21 Nov 2020 11:46 AM MYT

SINGAPORE, Nov 21 — With the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Japan and Malaysia, Singapore is tightening its border controls for travellers who are arriving from these two countries, making it mandatory for them to serve 14-day stay-home notices at dedicated facilities.

The measures will take effect from tomorrow (November 22), 11.59pm, and all travellers who have been to these two countries in the last 14 days must comply with the regulations, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said yesterday.

Since September 1, travellers from Malaysia, except Sabah, have been allowed to serve a seven-day stay-home notice at their place of residence when it was then considered a low-risk country.

The authorities had previously announced on October 27 that travellers from Japan were allowed to opt out of serving their stay-home notice at dedicated facilities if they have a suitable place of residence.

Travellers from Malaysia

From November 22, 11.59pm, all travellers entering Singapore who have a travel history — including transit — in the past 14 days to Malaysia must serve a 14-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities.

This also applies to travellers entering Singapore to work under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement and returning Singapore-based travellers under the reciprocal green lane arrangement between Malaysia and Singapore, MoH said.

From November 27, 11.59pm, all travellers who are not Singaporeans or permanent residents and who have a travel history to Malaysia within the last 14 days will be required to take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours before departure.

Travellers will need to present a valid negative Covid-19 test result or they will not be allowed to enter Singapore, MoH said.

Singapore-based travellers under the reciprocal green lane arrangement will be exempted from this requirement, it added.

Travellers from Japan

From November 22, 11.59pm, all travellers entering Singapore who have a travel history to Japan in the last 14 days will be required to serve a 14-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities.

They will no longer be able to opt out of staying at the dedicated facilities to serve the notice at their place of residence, even if they have obtained approval to opt out previously, MoH said.

This new requirement also applies to returning Singapore-based travellers under the reciprocal green lane arrangement between Japan and Singapore.

Other regions

Travellers from Fiji, Finland, the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Turkey will continue to be allowed to apply to opt out of staying at dedicated facilities to serve their 14-day stay-home notices at their place of residence if they meet the following requirements:

― They have not travelled to other countries or regions outside of the approved list of low-risk countries in the last consecutive 14 days before entry to Singapore

― They are occupying their place of residence alone or only with household members who are also serving stay-home notices with the same travel history and stay-home notice duration

Covid-19 tests will continue to be administered before the end of the stay-home notice, MoH said.

The ministry will continue to adjust Singapore’s border measures to manage the risk of the spread of the coronavirus to the community.

Any changes to the border measures will be updated on the Safe Travel website.

Travellers are thus advised to visit the website to check for the most updated border measures before entering Singapore.

They should prepare to be subjected to the prevailing border regulations upon entry, including paying for their stay at the dedicated facilities, tests and treatment.

Travellers should also accurately declare their travel history as strict enforcement actions will be taken against false declarations. ― TODAY

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malay...-subje/1924749
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Old 22-11-2020, 12:31 AM   #1218
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Covid-19: Foreign spouses from 23 countries can enter Malaysia with Immigration Dept’s permission, says Ismail Sabri

Friday, 20 Nov 2020 08:56 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Citizens of 23 countries that are still barred from entering the country can now enter Malaysia to meet their local spouses provided they receive permission from the Malaysian Immigration Department.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the exemption was given to the group even though the country had not opened its borders to those countries.

“They are not restrained, as long as they get permission from the Immigration Department by applying through My Travel Pass and complying with all the SOP (standard operating procedures) set including to bear the full quarantine costs,” he said at a press conference on the development of the Recovery movement control order (RMCO) here today.

Last September, Malaysia imposed entry ban on citizens of 23 countries due to a spike in Covid-19 cases in those countries.

The countries are the United States, Brazil, India, Russia, Peru, Colombia, South Africa, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Iran, Bangladesh and the United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, France, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Iraq, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri said so far, the government has not planned to make it compulsory for those from red zone areas who wish to travel to green zones to take Covid-19 swab test.

On the Compliance Operation Task-Force, he said a total of 318 individuals were detained yesterday for violating RMCO SOP.

Of that total, he said 307 were issued compound notices while 11 were remanded.

Ismail Sabri said the authorities detained 24 immigrants and seized six land vehicles through Op Benteng operations conducted nationwide. — Bernama

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malay...migrat/1924625
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Old 22-11-2020, 12:53 AM   #1219
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Singaporeans with Malaysian spouses allowed to enter country amid Covid-19 restrictions, senior minister says

KUALA LUMPUR — Singaporeans with Malaysian spouses are not prevented or barred from entering Malaysia, said the country’s senior minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Tuesday (Oct 20).He told his daily press briefing that those Singaporeans can apply to enter the country with the Immigration Department under the MyTravelPass entry visa and permit approval system.

“There is no prevention and we allow for Malaysians to bring their Singaporean wife and children back to Malaysia.“For example, if the wife or children are Singaporeans with a Malaysian husband, they can come to Malaysia by applying online under the MyTravelPass,” said Mr Ismail Sabri when asked on the status of Malaysians with Singaporean spouses.

Mr Ismail Sabri noted that many such cases have applied and managed to return to Malaysia.He said more so that Singapore is not under the 23 listed countries by the government that have high Covid-19 cases.

On Oct 7, the Immigration Department had introduced the MyTravelPass, which is an easier and quicker entry visa and permit approval system for individuals entering the country.

The new system is expected to reduce the entry visa and permit application processing time from seven to five days or less.In a related matter, Mr Ismail Sabri maintained that the government does not differentiate between the cost of the swab test for those returning from Singapore or other foreign countries.“The cost is the same for the entire country,” he clarified, referring to the swab test.Mr Ismail Sabri, who is also the defence minister, said the government will, however, look into the reduction of cost for those undergoing quarantine in hotels under the Health Ministry.He said those who are under the bottom 40 per cent income group or are disabled can apply to be exempted from the quarantine cost under the powers vested with the health minister.

“For those that feel that the cost is a heavy burden, they can still apply to the health ministry for a reduction in the quarantine cost,” said Ismail Sabri. MALAY MAIL

https://www.todayonline.com/world/si...ictions-senior
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Old 22-11-2020, 01:14 AM   #1220
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Covid-19: Hong Kong-Singapore travel corridor postponed

The launch of a travel corridor between Hong Kong and Singapore has been postponed for two weeks amid a surge of Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong.

The deal was due to kick in on Sunday, allowing passengers to fly both ways without the need to self-isolate.

The decision is a blow to attempts by the two financial hubs to revive their battered travel sectors.

Hong Kong reported 43 new infections on Saturday, the highest daily toll in nearly three months.

The number includes 13 cases with unknown transmission sources, raising fears the local outbreak could get out of control.

"Today's decision is a responsible decision," Hong Kong Commerce Secretary Edward Yau told reporters. "For any scheme to be successful, it must fulfil the conditions of securing public health and also making sure that both sides [are] comfortable and feel safe about the scheme."

The decision will be revisited in early December, he added.

Under the travel bubble arrangement, travellers would be required to take a Covid-19 test before departure and upon arrival. There would be no restrictions on the purpose of travel but passengers would have to take designated flights, and a maximum of 200 people would be allowed to travel each way per day.

Neither Hong Kong nor Singapore has seen the large outbreaks of the virus experienced elsewhere. With small populations and heavy dependence on international air travel, they hope the travel corridor will help their key tourism and aviation sectors amid a global downturn.

Shukor Yusof, an analyst with aviation consultancy Endau Analytics, said the travel arrangements were fraught with challenges.

"There is no solution until the vaccine is available to all. The more airlines swim against the Covid tide, and try to beat the odds, the worse it will become. Best to endure, stay put, refine the business model and conserve cash," he told AFP news agency.

Last month, an air travel corridor was introduced between Australia and New Zealand in which New Zealanders are exempt from self-isolation requirements when arriving in the state of New South Wales and the Northern Territory.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 290 airlines, expects traffic this year to be 66% below the level it was in 2019. The IATA estimates that it will be at least 2024 before air traffic reaches pre-pandemic levels.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the pandemic led to a 72% drop in international tourists in the first half of the year. However, there has been a rebound in domestic tourism in some markets, such as China.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-55027305
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Old Yesterday, 12:18 AM   #1221
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12 new Covid-19 cases in Singapore, all imported

SINGAPORE - There were 12 new coronavirus cases confirmed at noon on Sunday (Nov 22), taking Singapore's total to 58,160.

All 12 were imported cases who had been placed on stay-home notices on arrival in Singapore, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

This is the 12th day in a row where there were no locally transmitted cases.

It constitutes the longest stretch without a community case since the first coronavirus case was reported in Singapore on Jan 23. There were 12 days between the first reported case, which was imported, and the first recorded community cases on Feb 4.

More details will be announced on Sunday night, said MOH.

On Saturday, the Health Ministry announced five new coronavirus cases, all of which were imported.

They were placed on stay-home notices on arrival in Singapore and tested during that period.

Four were asymptomatic and detected through screening and surveillance, while one was symptomatic.

Of Saturday's five cases, one was a Singaporean who returned from Mexico, while another was a Singapore permanent resident who returned from Britain.

Another two were work permit holders currently employed in Singapore who arrived from the Philippines.

The remaining case was a long-term visit pass holder who arrived from Oman.

MOH also said that Bugis Street and the Kopitiam @ Jurong East have been added to the list of places visited by Covid-19 patients while they were still infectious.

MOH provides the list of locations that infectious Covid-19 patients visited for at least 30 minutes and the times they visited them to get people who were at those places at the same time to monitor their health closely for two weeks from the date of their visit.

It has said that close contacts would already have been notified and that there is no need to avoid these places as they would have been cleaned, if necessary.

Overall, the number of new cases in the community has remained low, with no new cases in the past week, MOH noted.

Six more cases of coronavirus infection were discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities.

In all, 58,049 people have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities.

On Saturday, there were 22 confirmed cases still in hospital. Of these, most were stable or improving, but one was in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Another 34 were isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Singapore has had 28 deaths from Covid-19 complications, while 15 who tested positive have died of other causes.

Globally, the virus outbreak, which began in December last year, has infected more than 56.8 million people. More than 1.36 million people have died.

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapo...all-imported-0
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Old Yesterday, 01:34 AM   #1222
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Mask-free in the Maldives: what it’s like now in the tourist idyll – as beautiful as ever, and coronavirus-free

In one of the first destinations to reopen, our correspondent finds the resort experience as enchanting as ever, and dispenses with a mask on deserted beaches

Covid-19 restrictions in the Maldives do nothing to lessen a unique experience, but having to quarantine afterwards in Hong Kong is daunting


Lee Cobaj
Published: 12:15pm, 22 Nov, 2020
Updated: 12:21pm, 22 Nov, 2020

From my overwater villa I’m staring into the Studio 54 of the fish world; jade and purple parrotfish pass by in flocks, tubular blue needlefish dart and dodge, black-tip reef sharks sashay about like they own the place. Inky eagle rays and huge stingrays, like magic carpets, steal the show – until the dolphins make an appearance and upstage them all.

My new aquatic friends are oblivious to the carnage 2020 has wrought upon the world and for a few, all too brief days, I’ve been able to share their carefree world.

When I booked my flights, the Maldives was looking like one of the few viable holiday destinations Hongkongers could visit; naturally socially distanced across 1,200 islands, with visa- and quarantine-free entry and a low Covid-19 caseload (the country of half a million citizens has recorded just 12,112 cases and 41 deaths).

Anti-coronavirus measures introduced by the Maldivian government in August require every visitor to present a negative Covid-19 test on arrival, taken within 96 hours of flight departure, which catches most imported cases. There would still be a 14-day quarantine required on my return to Hong Kong but I could do that in my new apartment, which I was looking forward to decorating.

I figured that as long as I could enjoy a holiday of a similar length to quarantine, then the hassle would be worth it.

I dusted off my bikinis, stocked up on coral-friendly sun cream, found a travel insurance policy that included Covid-19 cover (for a surprisingly reasonable price) and took my Covid-19 test at the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital in Happy Valley, at a cost of HK$1,510 (US$195). Then came a curveball.

Less than 48 hours before I was due to depart, the government announced that as of November 13 – less than halfway through my planned trip – all travellers returning to Hong Kong must quarantine in hotels, at their own expense. Returnees would also need to have obtained a negative nucleic test taken a maximum of 72 hours before flying. (Maldivian government rules stipulate that if a guest tests positive during their stay, they must be accommodated free of charge in a designated quarantine villa at their resort for 14 days.)

I deflated quicker than a cheap unicorn floaty. It was an additional barrier – and expense – that appeared to blow my entire trip out of the clear blue water.

But with little prospect of escaping Hong Kong in the foreseeable future, and free flight changes with Qatar Airways, I decided to improvise, leaving a day early and cutting my 18-night trip down to six nights to avoid the new restriction.

Just over 24 hours later I checked in for the 17-hour journey to Malé (taking three times longer than a pre-pandemic direct flight with Cathay Pacific). I wondered if I would feel safe but, with the flight almost empty – perhaps a dozen passengers in business class and 30 or so in economy – all required to wear a face mask and shield for the entire flight, I had little to worry about.

The immigration process in the Maldives passed quickly and smoothly too, effectively socially distanced and taking no more than five minutes for the officer to tabulate my test results with the QR code that had been generated from the online health declaration I’d completed before departure.

From here on in, the new normal felt delightfully like the old normal.

On the 40-minute jaunt to Vakkaru, a reef island resort in the Baa Atoll, the seaplane pilots wear masks but fly barefoot. On approach, the atoll, a Unesco Biosphere Reserve, shimmers below in a paint chart of blues.

At the resort, mask-free honeymooners walk hand in hand on the beach and families frolic in gently lapping waves as my butler, Dima, guides me through frangipani-scented jungle and along a curving wooden walkway to my overwater villa.

The Maldives closed its borders in March and reopened on July 15. Only a handful of resorts stayed open throughout the summer, to cater to wealthy guests who had decided to wait out the pandemic in luxury. Vakkaru wasn’t one of them.

Like every returning member of resort staff in the Maldives, Dima, from Belarus, landed with a negative test in hand, was quarantined for 14 days, then took a second test before being given the all-clear to mingle with guests.

The staff are all wearing masks but, as that’s something we’re very used to in Hong Kong, it barely registers, other than to reassure me that protocols are in place to deal with travellers coming from countries with less effective disease control. Every island resort also has a doctor on staff.

“We follow [World Health Organisation] guidelines and have Zoom calls with the Health Protection Agency and Ministry of Health every day or two to keep on top of any changes,” says Vakkaru’s Dr Tayyab. “The mandatory arrival tests have created a safe bubble where we know most visitors will be Covid-free, and if we do find a positive case, it’s very easy for us to track, trace and test on an island with less than 400 guests and staff.”

The staff have been taught how to spot, tackle and stop the spread of the virus; most hotels now have their own testing facilities on site (Vakkaru charges US$150 for a PCR); and local island hospitals have been kitted out with Covid-19 facilities, should the need arise. It’s all so reassuring I decide to go naked – casting off my mask for the week.

Mornings find me meditating to the lull of the Indian Ocean, perhaps followed by yoga or snorkelling on the kaleidoscopic house reef, all complimentary activities at Vakkaru, which is currently offering 40 per cent off rates for its rooms – rooms that have played host to Madonna!

I cannot resist the siren call of the spa or the chance to snorkel with hawksbill turtles or to be swept up in a cloud of gigantic manta rays in Hanifaru Bay.

Do I avoid other guests? Yes, but I tend to do that anyway. And do I have to keep an eye on the constantly changing directives and regulations of the Hong Kong government? Yes, lest they pull the coconut welcome mat from under my feet again. But do any of these things ruin my enjoyment of some mask-free, carefree, fun-filled time in the sun? Nope.

It has taken courage for the Maldives to reopen, but there again it was left with little choice.

“It’s been difficult but without tourism there really is no Maldives,” Vakkaru general manager Iain McCormack says, referring to the fact that nearly a third of the nation’s gross domestic product and two-thirds of its foreign exchange receipts are generated by tourism. Not to mention the fishermen and coconut farmers, seaplane pilots and boat hands, environmental and educational endeavours that the industry supports. “We think the government have come up with a good plan.”

Already at the coalface of climate breakdown, the Maldives represents an extreme example of the economic importance of the tourist industry, which might provide some lessons for Hong Kong.

Coming up with a sensible plan for opening up shouldn’t have to mean waiting for a vaccine. As much as we need holidays, the people who make them happen need us too.

https://amp.scmp.com/lifestyle/trave...dyll-beautiful
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Old Yesterday, 10:18 AM   #1223
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Qatar Airways Returns to Phuket

18 November 2020 | Written by Chris Alexander

As Thailand continues to relax travel restrictions and welcome back an increasing number of international tourists, airlines are responding with new flights to meet demand. Qatar Airways has just announced it will increase flight frequency between Phuket and their base in Doha, with more flights expected to be announced soon.

Qatar Airways is expected to officially begin weekly flight operations connecting Doha and Phuket from 4 December 2020 and is currently seeking permission from the Thai authorities to expand the frequency of this service still further from 10 December onwards. With the new services, Qatar becomes the second airline from the Middle East to resume flights to Thailand after the Emirates, which services the Dubai-Phuket route.

Thailand recently opened its borders to international arrivals under two new visas, each with stringent entry requirements; approval for travel is subject to passing a range of safety checks, documentation and protocols. Phuket, together with Bangkok, is one of the main entry points for these arrivals.

The new 60-day Tourist Visa is available to citizens of all nations. In order for a new visa to be approved, applicants must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR swab test, taken within 72 hours of flight departure. All arrivals under the new visa must also undergo a second Covid-19 PCR test upon arrival, to be absolutely certain they are free of the virus before entering Thailand.

The new Tourist Visa follows the successful reintroduction of international tourism to Thailand in October, under the Special Tourism Visa (STV) – a long-stay visa for citizens of designated low-risk countries. The STV is valid for an initial 90 days but can be extended multiple times.

Qatar Airways has been servicing the increasing number of arrivals to Thailand in recent weeks; the airline currently flies twice daily between Doha and Bangkok, transporting returning Thai nationals, people authorised to visit Thailand and those with work permits. The inclusion of a Doha-Phuket service is expected to be the first in a range of further expansions by the airline in Thailand in the weeks and months ahead.

https://www.panorama-destination.com...rns-to-phuket/
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Old Yesterday, 10:33 AM   #1224
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Covid-19 Situation Report: Thailand

15 November 2020 | Written by Chris Alexander

Confirmed cases:3,874
Deaths: 60
Recovered: 3,715

Thailand’s tourism revival continues at pace. By the first week of November, the ministry had already issued certificates of entry to 1,465 foreigners, with most approved to enter on the Special Tourist Visa (STV), along with retirement visas and privileged entry visas. A more general, short-term visa just been announced, opening the door to more international arrivals in the months ahead. Restrictions are being carefully lifted, new hotels are opening and protocols are evolving to keep visitors safe in the New Normal. For all the latest Covid-19 news from the last 2 weeks in Thailand, see below.

A new visa for international tourists is now available. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) executive director for tourism products, Thapanee Kitaphaibool, the 60-day tourist visa can be extended to 90 days. Visa requirements include a bank statement providing proof of income, medical insurance covering Covid-19, proof of alternative state quarantine reservation (ASQ) and proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR swab test taken within 72 hours of departure.

The new visa is offered in addition to the existing Special Tourism Visa (STV). Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has confirmed the mandatory STV quarantine period will be reduced from 14 to 10 days. Initially, TAT planned to offer this type of visa only to low-risk countries (China, Macao, Taiwan, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand), but since many of the target countries in Europe and Scandinavia are categorised under ‘medium risk,’ Thai consulates have expanded their criteria to include this level too.

Panorama Destination is working to ensure the safety of Panorama Destination clients returning to Thailand, and has introduced a set of health and safety protocols based on a dedicated Covid-19 policy. The business has also achieved safety certification from a range of internationally recognised organizations, including the following:

Thailand Hygiene Plus Initiative (THPI)

World Travel & Tourism Council ‘Safe Travels’ campaign
“Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration” certification (SHA) by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)

We continue to work alongside the Government and with other DMCs in Thailand, to ensure safe and standardised services for all returning visitors; and will continue to provide the latest breaking news regarding Covid-19 and its impact on tourism via our social media channels:

Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter

We also understand that our clients, agents and partners have many concerns and questions regarding the current situation in Thailand with regards to Covid-19. To help address some of these issues, we’ve put together a series of frequently asked questions and provided a response according to the most current information.

(Please note that the Covid-19 situation in Thailand continues to develop on an almost daily basis. All information above and below is accurate at the time of writing – for the latest updates, please refer to our social media channels, or get in touch directly)

Covid-19 FAQ

How serious is the Covid-19 situation in Thailand?

Covid-19 is currently under control in Thailand; officials in the Kingdom have been quick to isolate and contain any clusters of the virus over the last few months, and on-going safety protocols are ensuring the number of new cases is relatively low and manageable. Visas are now available and international tourists are slowly and safely returning.

What is the current tourism situation?

A slow but steady influx of arrivals is already underway – under the STV programme, Thailand plans to welcome 100-300 visitors a week, or up to 1,200 people a month. Yachts and foreign vessels are now also permitted to dock in Thai ports. A new 60-day visa has just been announced, meaning that Thailand is officially open to foreign tourists once more!

What is the new tourism visa?

The new 60-day visa, which can be extended to a 90 days, allows all foreign nationals to apply for entry into Thailand. To be approved for entry, applicants must provide a bank statement with proof of income covering at least 6 months, equivalent to THB 500,000 (US$ 17,000); medical insurance that covers Covid-19, with at least US$ 100,000 in coverage for the entire duration of stay; proof of alternative state quarantine reservation (ASQ); and proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR swab test taken within 72 hours of departure.

What is the STV visa?

The 90-day STV is aimed at long-term, high-spending tourists. It costs 2,000 baht and can be extended twice, to give the visitor an overall stay of 270 days. A 10-day quarantine period (reduced from 14 days) is mandatory, along with a range of additional requirements.

Can I travel to Thailand for Medical Tourism?
Foreign medical tourists are now permitted to come to Thailand for medical treatment, subject to strict disease control measures. Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) says Thailand’s medical and wellness tourism programme has been resumed with the hope of attracting medical tourists back into the country. However, for obvious reasons, those seeking Covid-19 treatment will not be allowed to enter. Medical tourists will need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 diagnosis, along with an appointment letter from a doctor in Thailand and an entry certificate issued by their local Thai embassy.

Where can I find more information?

As always, check our website and social media channels for all the latest updates:

Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter

https://www.panorama-destination.com...rt-thailand-2/
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Old Yesterday, 01:28 PM   #1225
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Singaporeans with Malaysian spouses allowed to enter country amid Covid-19 restrictions, senior minister says

KUALA LUMPUR — Singaporeans with Malaysian spouses are not prevented or barred from entering Malaysia, said the country’s senior minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Tuesday (Oct 20).He told his daily press briefing that those Singaporeans can apply to enter the country with the Immigration Department under the MyTravelPass entry visa and permit approval system.

“There is no prevention and we allow for Malaysians to bring their Singaporean wife and children back to Malaysia.“For example, if the wife or children are Singaporeans with a Malaysian husband, they can come to Malaysia by applying online under the MyTravelPass,” said Mr Ismail Sabri when asked on the status of Malaysians with Singaporean spouses.

Mr Ismail Sabri noted that many such cases have applied and managed to return to Malaysia.He said more so that Singapore is not under the 23 listed countries by the government that have high Covid-19 cases.

On Oct 7, the Immigration Department had introduced the MyTravelPass, which is an easier and quicker entry visa and permit approval system for individuals entering the country.

The new system is expected to reduce the entry visa and permit application processing time from seven to five days or less.In a related matter, Mr Ismail Sabri maintained that the government does not differentiate between the cost of the swab test for those returning from Singapore or other foreign countries.“The cost is the same for the entire country,” he clarified, referring to the swab test.Mr Ismail Sabri, who is also the defence minister, said the government will, however, look into the reduction of cost for those undergoing quarantine in hotels under the Health Ministry.He said those who are under the bottom 40 per cent income group or are disabled can apply to be exempted from the quarantine cost under the powers vested with the health minister.

“For those that feel that the cost is a heavy burden, they can still apply to the health ministry for a reduction in the quarantine cost,” said Ismail Sabri. MALAY MAIL

https://www.todayonline.com/world/si...ictions-senior
Couples separated by Covid-19 border controls reunite after 9 months

PUBLISHED OCT 31, 2020, 5:00 AM SGT

SINGAPORE - After more than nine months of separation because of Covid-19 border controls, Singaporeans and permanent residents who are in relationships with foreign partners are finally being reunited.

About a month ago, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) added a new "spouse-to-be" category in the application form for foreigners who wish to enter Singapore amid the pandemic.

It allows foreigners in relationships with Singapore citizens or permanent residents to come here on a short-term visit pass even if they are not married.

The Straits Times contacted the ICA but it did not provide details of the requirements for a visa to be approved under the new category.

In a statement, it said it will "generally be facilitative of foreigners who are immediate family members or relatives of a Singapore citizen or permanent resident, or a spouse-to-be of a Singapore citizen or a PR".

It added that the duration of stay granted will be assessed and determined at the point of entry.

A check on the authority's website did not reveal any indication that proof is needed of the relationship. The online form states that both parties must provide their details in the application.

Prior to the introduction of the new category, only foreigners who are immediate family members or relatives of Singapore citizens or permanent residents were allowed to enter the country. Those facing extenuating circumstances, such as the death of a loved one, could also be given permission.

Those who have successfully applied under the new spouse-to-be category said they were told to pay for a Covid-19 test, as well as for a 14-day stay at a dedicated facility to serve their stay-home notice (SHN), within three days of the approval.

After paying $2,200 per person, they are given a four-day window by the ICA to enter the country.

Ms Priscillia Lau, a recent graduate of Columbia University in the United States, said her American partner of 17 months arrived in Singapore from New York on Sunday.

He is now serving his SHN at InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay and can remain here for up to 90 days.

Ms Lau, 24, a civil servant, who has been back in Singapore since June, was initially not optimistic about her partner's prospects of entering the country as the US has been experiencing five-digit new infections a day since March.

But it took only a week for his short-term visit pass application to be approved on Oct 23.

"I couldn't pick him up at the airport when he arrived, but we'll finally get to see each other after nine months," she said.

Meanwhile, Ms Rashida Rahman has not met her English fiance who lives in Birmingham, England, in the past 10 months, and their reunion continues to be put on hold.

He was last here in January.

"We are grateful to the Government for giving us the flexibility to bring our partners over, but $2,200 is no small sum, on top of having to pay for plane tickets. We are waiting for a travel bubble between Singapore and Britain so that there's no need to quarantine," said Ms Rahman, 48, a secretary.

Britons and Americans are allowed to leave their own countries, with some restrictions.

Separately, Ms Ashley Toh, a 30-year-old educator, said her South Korean fiance would have to be quarantined for two weeks in Singapore and another two weeks when he returns to South Korea.

"That's a month of SHN in total, which his work is not able to accommodate," she said.

The couple were going to tie the knot here in May but had to cancel their wedding plans because of the pandemic.

Many like Ms Toh have sought support through a Facebook group called Love is Not Tourism Singapore, which has over 570 members.

The group is one of many that have sprung up over the course of the pandemic as international couples are forced to stay apart.

"The group has offered me immense support... all of us in similar situations are experiencing the same pain of not knowing when we will see our partners again," said Ms Toh.

"But everyone has been very forthcoming in offering advice and celebrating together when someone gets approved to come over."

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapo...after-9-months
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Old Yesterday, 04:20 PM   #1226
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NO NEW CASES OF LOCALLY-TRANSMITTED COVID-19 INFECTION

23RD NOV 2020

1. As of 23 November 2020, 12pm, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has preliminarily confirmed that there are no new cases of locally transmitted COVID-19 infection.

2. There are 5 imported cases, who had already been placed on Stay-Home Notice or isolated upon arrival in Singapore.

3. We are still working through the details of the cases, and further updates will be shared via the MOH press release that will be issued tonight.

https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highligh...ion-23Nov-2020
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Old Yesterday, 11:47 PM   #1227
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Vietnam travel policies in Covid 19

Hanh Pham - Nov 19, 2020

In the context of outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Vietnam Government has applied stricter regulations regarding entry, and travel of the foreigners in Vietnam in order to prevent spread of such epidemic throughout Vietnam, ensure safety for both Vietnamese and foreigners themselves.

This article will update you of the measures applied by our Government regarding entry, stay and travel of foreigners in Vietnam and it covers:

1. Vietnam visa, entry and quarantine policy

2. Health Check

3. Fine for non-compliance

4. Local sources


1. Vietnam Visa – Entry & Quarantine regulations

As of today, the Vietnamese government continues to suspend entry into Vietnam to all foreigners, including people with a Vietnamese visa exemption certificate. This policy has very limited exemptions for Holders of diplomatic and official passports coming to Vietnam for

a. Diplomatic and official duty and their family members;

b. Experts, investors, business managers, high-tech workers and their family members;

c. International students; and

d. Foreign family members of Vietnamese citizens.


1. 5 Steps to get Vietnam visa for Foreigners during COVID 19 and take them to Vietnam

In order to enter Vietnam during the COVID breakout, those foreigners and their sponsors in Vietnam shall follow the 5-step procedure below:

Step 1: The sponsor in Vietnam prepares the required documents and forms;

Step 2: The sponsor submits the prepared documents to the Department of Health;

Step 3: After getting approval from the Department of Health, the sponsor shall obtain flight booking confirmation (if the foreigner enters Vietnam by air), and hotel booking confirmation.

Step 4: The sponsor shall submit the approval by the Department of Health, flight booking confirmation (if the foreigner enters Vietnam by air), hotel booking confirmation, and other documents as required to the Vietnam Immigration Department to get an entry permit.

Step 5: Enter Vietnam and stay in quarantine

https://www.vietnam-visa.com/vietnam...s-in-covid-19/


VIETNAM DEPENDENT VISA FOR FOREIGNERS 2020

Recently, there are more and more foreigners coming to Vietnam for working, investing, doing business and many Vietnamese citizens are married to a foreigner. Consequently, the need to bring their family to Vietnam for union is very demanding. The Vietnamese government, of course, has policies to help such reunion and one of the solutions they offer is Dependent Visa Vietnam or Dependent Relative Visas. So a lot of foreign labors in Vietnam or even Vietnamese people whose spouses or children are foreigners have wondered how to obtain a Dependent Visa Vietnam for their spouse and children? Is it easy to get dependent visa in Vietnam? In this article, Visa5s would like to give you a brief summary of all you need to know about Vietnam Dependent Visa for foreigners.

https://www.ditravel.vn/visa/vietnam...oreigners-2020

Last edited by Joe Mahmood; Yesterday at 11:52 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 11:49 PM   #1228
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No xenophobic

Let em s5ay
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Old Today, 12:15 AM   #1229
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Information for Foreigners who are married to Thai nationals or foreigners who are children of Thai nationals planning to travel to Thailand

Non-Immigrant O visa is issued for foreigners who are married to Thai nationals or foreigners who are children of Thai nationals. Holders of this type of Thai visa can with an urgent need to travel to Thailand but must follow the procedure described below.

Important! The process of application can vary a bit depending on Thai Embassy or Thai Consulate you are applying at so double check with them before proceeding

1. At least 15 working days before intended date of travel, the applicant may submit information online or the other way acceptable to your chosen Thai Embassy or Thai Consulate.

2. Royal Thai Embassy submits documents in 1. to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for approval

3. If approved, the Royal Thai Embassy will inform the applicant to mail the following documents to the Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate-General:

Passport

Two passport-size photographs (2″x 2″)

Visa application form

A completed and signed “Declaration Form” (Download)

Medical insurance or letter from employer guaranteeing that the insurance company or employer will cover a minimum of 100,000 USD (or equivalent in other currencies) of medical costs incurred by the applicant in Thailand, including medical costs in the event that applicant contracts COVID-19.

Travel plan (air ticket reservation – please contact the Consular section per Thai nationals’ repatriation flights)

Copy of recent bank statement

Copy of a passport of a Thai spouse and a Non-Thai spouse/child or Thai Identification card.

Proof of relationship with Thai nationals, such as a copy of marriage certificate or Birth certificate.

Visa fee if the applicant does not have a valid visa.

A confirmation of a 14-day quarantine at a government-designated facility ( List of Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) or Alternative Local Quarantine (ALQ) Hotels )

4. Before the Embassy issues the Certificate of Entry (COE), the applicant must submit the travel plan (confirmed air ticket with proof of payment), health certificate (Fit to Fly) issued 72 hours before departure date, COVID-19-Free Health Certificate, issued no more than 72 hours before departure date, and confirmation of ASQ.

5. At the port of departure/embarkation (e.g. airlines check-in counter), the approved applicant is required to present

“Certificate of Entry into the Kingdom of Thailand” issued by The Royal Thai Embassy.

Completed and signed “Declaration Form” obtained from the Embassy

Health insurance covering all expenditures of medical treatment, including COVID-19, while traveling to Thailand in an amount of at least 100,000 USD.

COVID-19-Free Health Certificate (test negative for COVID-19) issued no more than 72 hours before departure.

‘Fit to Fly Health Certificate’ issued no more than 72 hours before departure

6. Upon entry to Thailand, Travelers arriving in Thailand during the COVID-19 pandemic must submit a T8 Form upon entry into the Kingdom or register online through AOT phone application

Important Notes

Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account urgency and economic importance.

The applicant must arrange their own 14-day Quarantine at their own expenses. You can check for more information about the quarantine process, including the constantly updated lists of approved quarantine hotels here:

Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) Hotels (in Bangkok)

Alternative Local Quarantine (ALQ) Hotels (out of Bangkok)

https://thaiest.com/blog/how-to-fly-...y-during-covid
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Old Today, 11:30 AM   #1230
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Coronavirus: Malaysia will close Top Glove factories and screen workers; Indonesia hits 500,000 cases

Top Glove is the world’s largest manufacturer of latex gloves. A total of 28 factories will be closed in stages after 1,889 workers tested positive for the virus

Meanwhile, Australia reopened the border between Victoria and New South Wales, its two most populous states


Reuters
Published: 6:45pm, 23 Nov, 2020
Updated: 7:07pm, 23 Nov, 2020


Malaysia will close some of Top Glove’s factories in stages to screen its employees for Covid-19 after a major increase in coronavirus infections, a senior minister said on Monday.

A total of 28 factories will be closed in stages after 1,889 Top Glove workers tested positive for the virus, Senior Minister of Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Top Glove is the world’s largest latex-glove maker and has seen record high profits this year as demand for medical gloves and protective gear skyrocketed due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, across Malaysia’s Sabah region on Borneo island, stateless residents and undocumented migrants are fleeing public health officials conducting coronavirus screenings, fearful of being detained or deported.

The race to tackle Covid-19 in Sabah, Malaysia’s biggest palm oil producing state, is being complicated by an estimated 1 million undocumented migrants and stateless residents who account for a third of the population.

Sabah accounts for nearly half of Malaysia’s 54,775 recorded Covid-19 infections and more than half its 335 deaths despite having barely a tenth of the Southeast Asian country’s population. But health officials fear the real picture could be much worse as people evade screenings in fear of detention or deportation.

“We see authorities coming, we do what we’ve always done: run,” said Ahmad Han, an undocumented migrant living on the outskirts of Semporna district in Sabah.

As of November 17, nearly one-fifth of the state’s infections involved foreigners, according to government data. They included stateless indigenous communities as well as refugees and migrant workers from neighbouring Philippines and Indonesia, countries that have the highest number of coronavirus cases in the region.

“Many would flee whenever they see nurses in uniform or an ambulance,” said Sabah cabinet minister Masidi Manjun, who is also the state’s spokesman on Covid-19 matters. “We are constantly trying to convince them that they won’t be arrested or deported when they go for Covid-19 testing. But the response has been lukewarm to say the least.”


Indonesia records 500,000 cases

Indonesia hit a grim milestone on Monday, surpassing more than half a million cases of the coronavirus, as hospitals across the country’s most populated province edged closer towards capacity.

Indonesia now has 502,110 infections and 16,002 deaths from Covid-19, the highest numbers in Southeast Asia, having struggled to contain the spread since its first case in March.

Public health experts say shortfalls in testing and contact tracing and a consistently high positivity rate indicate the real numbers are likely to be significantly higher.

In the capital Jakarta, where relatively loose social restrictions will remain in place until December 6, some met the milestone with glum resignation.

“The government isn’t serious and the people are getting fatigued,” said Ahmad Rozali, a clothes trader at Tanah Abang market.

“There’s an air of fear among the people,” said another trader, Dewi Nuraini, 45. “If we want to start a business,” she said, “It will meet a dead end.”

Indonesia has recorded a daily average of almost 4,000 new cases so far in November, with a spike in some provinces straining hospitals on the main island of Java.

In Bandung, the capital of West Java, a province of almost 50 million people, occupancy at 27 referral hospitals was 88.8 per cent on Monday, city secretary Ema Surmana said, with 698 of the 786 beds for coronavirus patients taken.

West Java epidemiologist Panji Fortuna Hadisoemarto said local and national transmission patterns indicate Indonesia’s struggle with the virus was far from over.

“If it happens in West Java, it doesn’t necessarily happen elsewhere,” he said. “But looking at the trend, it is still increasing in all provinces... Nowhere’s reached its peak.”


Australia reopens Victoria-NSW border

Australia’s two most populous states reunited in emotional scenes on Monday as the border – shut for only the second time in 101 years because of the coronavirus pandemic – reopened and the first flights since July arrived in Sydney from Melbourne.

Friends, family and a musical duo in drag welcomed passengers as they disembarked Qantas flight QF401 at 7.20am, the first of 26 flights scheduled between the two states on Monday.

“I can come and visit my father when I need to without having to worry about when I can get home,” one passenger said as she disembarked.

The border between New South Wales and Victoria states closed in July because of an outbreak of Covid-19 around Melbourne – Australia’s second-largest city. It was the first such border closure since 1919 when Australia was battling the Spanish flu.

The outbreak in Victoria, which totalled more than 20,000 cases, was only contained after a stringent lockdown lasting more than 100 days. But with Victoria going more than three weeks without detecting any Covid-19 infections, authorities made the decision to reopen the border much to the relief of separated families and the tourism and aviation sectors.

“We never want to be a position again when we have to shut down our borders,” New South Wales State Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.

Sydney to Melbourne is the world’s second-busiest air route and Australian lawmakers are keen to revive domestic travel and tourism in a bid to revive the country’s ailing economy. Australia also hopes to restart international travel with flights to New Zealand.


South Korea works to curb third wave

South Korea reported another daily rise of more than 200 new coronavirus cases on Monday, a day before tighter social distancing rules to blunt a third wave of infections take effect.

The daily tally of 271 new cases fell from 330 reported on Sunday after hovering above 300 for five straight days, a level not seen since August, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Officials have said the numbers tend to drop during the weekends due to less testing.

The government further strengthened distancing rules for the capital Seoul and nearby regions on Sunday, three days after reimposing curbs ahead of an annual national college entrance exam scheduled for December 3.

The latest measure will close bars and nightclubs, limit religious gatherings and restrict on-site dining at restaurants and cafes from Tuesday.

“If we can’t sever the links of infections, our antivirus efforts and medical responses might become unsustainable,” Vice Health Minister Kang Do-tae told a meeting on Monday.

KDCA director Jeong Eun-kyeong said it had secured 20 million doses of potential coronavirus vaccines, enough for 10 million people, via an international allocation platform called the COVAX facility. The agency aims to purchase at least 60 million doses this year and was in final talks with global drugmakers over the remaining 40 million, she said.

Some experts have accused authorities of failing to take stronger action earlier even though spikes in daily numbers and other benchmarks met conditions set by the government for stricter curbs.

The Korean Society of Infectious Diseases, a major grouping of doctors, issued a statement on Friday warning that infections could reach as many as 1,000 per day in coming weeks without effective measures, “overloading the tracing system, creating a vicious cycle of additional infections and depleting medical resources”.

Kang did not respond directly to such criticism, but said he “regretted having to step up distancing again just in three days”.

“But pre-emptive action was inevitable to brace for next week’s college exam and prevent a grand epidemic which would bring a serious impact on our daily livelihoods and economy,” he said.


India’s regional governments slammed

India’s Supreme Court on Monday excoriated regional governments including New Delhi over the surge in Covid-19 cases and warned the situation could worsen further if authorities did not effectively deal with the pandemic.

The court which took up the issue on its own, sought status reports from New Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Assam, which have recorded a spike in cases, about the management of patients and steps taken to ease the situation.

“We are hearing of a huge spike in the current month. We want a latest status report from all states. Worse things may happen in December if states aren’t well prepared,” the three-judge bench said, according to broadcaster NDTV.

The judges were particularly concerned about Delhi, which has been topping India in the number of infections and deaths.

“What extra efforts are you taking? ... Delhi has to answer a lot of things,” the judges told Delhi government lawyers in court.

More furnaces and pyres were being made available at the main cremation facility in Delhi, which reported 6,746 cases and 121 deaths on Monday.

India plans to put off the winter session of parliament due to the rising number of coronavirus infections, a government official said on Monday, with New Delhi facing a shortage of hospital beds and doctors as the epidemic spreads.

The western state of Gujarat was also slammed by the court, that was upset why the administration had allowed processions and political events in the recent weeks. Gujarat has also seen a spike in cases, forcing authorities to impose night curfew in cities like Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara.

https://amp.scmp.com/news/asia/south...-factories-and
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