As an effort to minimise the local transmission of COVID-19, Singapore government had implemented a few tighter measures to refrain Singaporeans from travelling abroad given the precarious situation with COVID-19 worldwide.
However, some Singaporeans were “unaware” of the travel advisories and stringent measures imposed by the government and went ahead with their “travel plan”.
According to TODAY, most of the travellers who still went abroad amid the coronavirus outbreak, gave reasons such as work commitments, did not want to waste the money that had spent on the trip, and the situation in Singapore is worse than the country they are visiting.
Despite the earlier travel advisory issued by the government on 15 March, one traveller told TODAY that he did “not regret going” to a country in South Asia as as the lives of his family and himself are “in the hand of God”.
However, the family had to serve a 14-day stay-home notice upon returning to Singapore.
Government enhanced measures to reduce the risk of further local transmission of COVID-19
In light of a spike in imported cases of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced an expansion of travel advisory where Singaporeans are advised to defer all travel abroad effective from 18 March.
Following that, the multi-ministry taskforce announced a ban on all short-term visitors from entering or transiting through Singapore starting from Monday (23 March), while work pass holders will not be allowed to return to Singapore unless those who work in essential services such as healthcare and transport.
However, MOH noted that there are still local residents and long term pass holders who “disregard” the prevailing travel advisories, which may “risk the health of other Singaporeans and residents when they return”.
As a concern on this, the ministry said on Tuesday (24 March) that Singapore residents or long term pass holders departing the country from 27 March onwards will be charged full rates at public hospitals if they are admitted for suspected COVID-19 cases and display an onset of symptoms within 14 days of their return.
“Singapore residents will also not be able to claim from MediShield Life or Integrated Shield Plans for these treatments at public and private hospitals,” MOH added.
Netizens condemn the selfish and irresponsible behaviour of those who disregard the travel advisories
Upon reading the news, many netizens commented on the Facebook page of TODAY, criticising those with the attitude of “It will never happen to me”. They called them “selfish” and “irresponsible” as these individuals may put other Singaporeans’ lives at risk for COVID-19. Additionally, netizens have also asked everyone to play their own part and be socially responsible by considering others.
A few netizens also felt sad and sorry for to the frontline healthcare workers, saying that their hard work are “thrown into waste” due to all these “stupid, selfish, self justify morons” who disregard the public health threat.
Some netizens also shared their own experience of cancelling trips to avoid the risk of getting infected of COVID-19, as well as how others who neglected the stay-home notice but still go out.
Some netizens even suggested the government to impose stricter restrictions such as penalty, disable medical claims or lockdown in order to ensure all people follow the rules and do not travel during this period.