Singapore has made Covid vaccination a mandatory condition for the approval of new applications for work passes, long-term passes and permanent residence in Singapore from February 1 next year. Those renewing their work passes will also have to be vaccinated, The Straits Times reported, citing the multi-ministry task force (MMTF) on Covid.
The new order will not apply to children aged below 12 and those who are medically ineligible for vaccination, it said. The new measure, announced on Sunday, is a part of the nation's adjustments to dealing with the Omicron variant.
"These measures will help sustain our high vaccination rates and facilitate the safe reopening of our society and economy," the Singapore daily quoting the MMTF said. At the point of application, employers will have to make a declaration that their work pass holders and dependants are fully vaccinated upon arrival in Singapore.
Work pass holders must submit or present their vaccination certificates as part of the verification process. Those with digitally verifiable certificates will have to upload them to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority's Vaccination Check Portal system.
Those without digitally verifiable certificates will have to present their vaccination certificates to airlines or ferry operators, or at the checkpoint, before boarding. People who cannot produce the necessary documents will not be allowed to board the plane or enter Singapore, unless prior exemptions have been granted.
Individuals who were vaccinated overseas must update their vaccination records in the National Immunisation Registry (NIR) and will be given a grace period of 30 days upon arrival in Singapore to undergo and show a positive serology test result taken at a public health preparedness clinic. "Should they test negative, they will be required to complete the full vaccination regimen in Singapore or their passes may be revoked, the task force said.
As for dependents of work pass holders, the vaccination condition will not apply to children aged below 12. Pass holders who are medically ineligible for vaccination will have to submit a doctor's memo at the point of application and undergo a medical review upon arrival in Singapore.
Those applying for permanent residence, student passes and long-term visit passes will have their vaccination status verified when their passes are issued.Their vaccination records will have to be updated in the NIR.
If applicants are unvaccinated or vaccinated overseas but test serology negative, an indication that the body has not produced antibodies in response to vaccination, they will have to complete the full vaccination regimen in Singapore to fulfil the vaccination condition before they can be granted permanent residence or long-term passes. The vaccination condition will not apply to permanent residence, long-term visit pass and student pass applicants for those who are aged below 12 years old, as well as those who are medically ineligible for vaccination.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has warned that unvaccinated workers will no longer be allowed to return to the workplace from January 15, even if they have a negative pre-event testing (PET) result. The ministry had said in October that unvaccinated people would not be allowed to enter the workplace from January 2022, unless they had tested negative for COVID-19.
"Following the review and discussion with tripartite partners, we have decided to remove the PET concession for unvaccinated persons to return to the workplace from January 15, 2022, the Channel News Asia quoting the MoH said. Partially vaccinated workers, those who have taken at least one dose of vaccine but are not yet fully vaccinated, will be granted a grace period until January 31 to complete the vaccination regime, the ministry said.
During the grace period, they can enter their workplace with a negative PET result.