The Complete Guide: COVID Quarantine/SHN in Singapore
The Complete Guide: COVID Quarantine/Stay Home Notice in Singapore
Are you planning to return to Singapore during this COVID period but you’re unsure if you can or how to do so? You probably already know you have to spend 2 weeks under a stay-home-notice (SHN) but you’re unsure what exactly to expect or if you’re going to be able to survive those long 14 days locked up in a hotel room/your room in your home without stepping foot outside at all. This blog is going to talk you through who is able to return to Singapore currently (as of 1 July 2020), how to go about requesting for approval to enter Singapore, if you have to pay for your stay-home-notice in a hotel or if you can return home, how much the hotel stay and COVID swab costs, how to request a change in hotel if you’re unhappy with the hotel you are allocated and what it’s like to spend 14 days essentially locked up in a room!
1. Who can enter Singapore?
Singapore citizens and permanent residents are able to return to Singapore at any time.
Long term pass holders are able to return with a valid approval letter for entry.
Short-term visitors however are not allowed to enter Singapore unless part of the Singapore-China fast lane or special prior approval has been given – you need to apply online and submit a form to be reviewed by the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA).
2. How to request to enter Singapore
If you are a long-term pass holder or short-term visitor you need to have special approval to enter Singapore.
You can get special prior approval by applying online.
Here is the link to the online request form.
You’ll be asked for your basic details and a valid reason for entering Singapore.
You’ll likely hear back in 1-2 weeks – you will be sent an email containing another link where you can specify the date you are planning to arrive in Singapore.
3. Do I have to serve a stay-home-notice and where?
This depends on where you are travelling from. If you have spent the last 14 consecutive days in these countries: Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, China, New Zealand, Korea, Taiwan or Vietnam; you can serve your stay-home-notice in your own residence/home.
Otherwise, all other travellers have to serve their stay-home-notice in a dedicated facility (hotel).
Check out this helpful infographic from CNA summarising the rules on stay-home-notices with the latest updates from the Ministry of Health.
4. Do I have to pay for my Stay-Home-Notice Hotel Stay and how much is it?
Again, this depends on different factors.
If you are a Singaporean citizen or permanent resident and did not leave Singapore after 27 March, you do not have to pay if you have to stay at a dedicated SHN facility.
If you are a long-term pass holder or short term visitor and are required to stay at a SHN facility, this is chargeable (as of 15 June 2020).
It costs up to $2000 SGD if you are required to stay in a stay-home-notice facility, which is inclusive of meals.
5. Do I need to have a COVID swab and how much is it?
All travellers entering Singapore are required to have a swab before the end of their SHN and will have to pay for it. A COVID swab costs up to $200.
6. How do I request a change in hotel during my stay-home notice?
Your hotel is allocated to you when you arrive in Singapore – this was in our experience anyway. We arrived on 19 June 2020 and were informed of our hotel only after picking our bags up. It was a seamless process and didn’t take long – a bus was arranged to transport us to the hotel (Shangri-la, Orange Grove).
You can request a change in hotel using this online form.
7. Our experience of 2 weeks in quarantine
At the airport
When we landed in Singapore our temperatures were checked as we were leaving the plane. We then headed over to the immigration checkpoint where everyone’s documents were checked (whether it was a ministry of manpower letter or special approval letter). Singaporeans did not need to provide any additional documents. This process didn’t take too long and within 15 minutes we had collected our bags – and following customs declarations we received our hotel allocation (Shangri-la).
We realised we weren’t going to have a balcony when we got to the hotel – this was the worst part. You’ll get 3 meals sent to your room every day (the food was supplied by an external vendor and it was not good). You’ll be able to order food delivery to your door – we have heard that some hotels do not allow this).
You will be checked up on by the ICA to ensure you are staying put – we were called 2 times/day and someone came to our door most days to check on us.
Getting your COVID swab
Now everyone has to go for a COVID swab on the 11th day of your stay home notice. You will be given a call a few days before to inform you where and when your test is – you have to arrange your own transport to the test centre, whether it is a taxi or your private vehicle. The swab doesn’t take long at all, but there might be a queue. For us, the whole process took about 40 minutes. The swab was really uncomfortable and stung a bit, but most people are fine with it.
COVID swab results
You will receive a call about your results 1-4 days after.
We did change hotels halfway through, and moved to a hotel with a balcony. This was infinitely better, so remember it is an option if you're not coping without fresh air!