Effective Tuesday, April 21, JetStar Asia will resume partial service on routes between Singapore, Manila, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur that were previously suspended amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The airline will operate one flight to and from Manila, two flights to and from Bangkok, and two flights to and from Kuala Lumpur per week with minimal onboard services and reduced cabin crew. These flights will only be available to citizens or permanent residents returning home, or to those with prior written governmental approval for travel. Cabin crew and passengers will be required to wear masks.
Jetstar Asia's flight suspension remains in effect until Tuesday, May 19. The company cited ongoing border restrictions throughout Asia and the introduction of stricter measures by the Singaporean government to contain COVID-19 as reasons for the decision. The airline previously announced the grounding of its fleet between Monday, March 23, and Wednesday, April 15. Jetstar Asia has offered a full refund through a travel credit voucher to all affected customers. Terminal 2 at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) suspended all operations for 18 months from Friday, May 1. Moreover, as of March 23, scheduled flight operations have been rediverted to the airport's other terminals.
Singapore's health ministry confirmed the country's two largest daily increases of COVID-19 cases of 942 on Saturday, April 18, and 1426 on Monday, April 20, with the majority reported among migrant workers who live in shared dormitories. Health authorities announced 14 and 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Singaporeans and permanent residents on those days respectively.
Various containment measures remain in place as of Sunday, April 19. The use of face masks is compulsory in public spaces with those who do not comply with the new order facing fines. There are exemptions for those conducting strenuous exercise, such as running, and for children below the age of two. The government also stated on Tuesday, April 14, that it sought to reduce the number of services that are deemed essential. Around 20 percent of Singapore's workforce continues to commute to their place of employment as essential workers. A ban on all social gatherings in homes and public spaces remain in effect. Private gatherings, such as parties or gatherings with family and friends who do not live together, are included in these restrictions. Under the new law, the government will also be allowed to restrict individuals' movements and interactions at their residence and in public areas. According to authorities, the law will be valid for at least six months and could be extended for up to one year.
The entry ban on all short-term visitors introduced on Sunday, March 23, remains in place. The Ministry of Manpower announced that only work pass holders, and their dependents, who provide essential services, such as healthcare and transport, will be allowed to enter the country. Malaysians with Singapore work permits will continue to be able to work in Singapore. All Singaporean citizens, permanent residents, and long-term pass holders returning to the country will be issued a 14-day Stay at Home Notice (SHN) and must remain in their place of residence for 14 days.
As of April 20, there are 8014 confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases nationwide, with 11 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantine measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.