AviationSingapore Airlines will be grounding around 138 SIA and SilkAir aircraft, out of a total fleet of 147

Singapore wins praise for Covid-19 response; PM urges caution

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New restrictions mean Singapore will effectively shut up shop to outside world – for now.
New restrictions mean Singapore will effectively shut up shop to outside world – for now.

SINGAPORE – Singapore continues to build a fortress against the spread of the Covid-19 virus with short-term visitors no longer allowed to enter or transit through Singapore from 11.59pm on Monday, 23 March.

Work pass holders and their dependants will be allowed to return to Singapore only if they work in sectors that provide essential services such as healthcare and transport.

The new measures – along with severe cuts in operations by Singapore Airlines, Silk Air and low-cost Scoot – are meeting with acclaim from other countries battling to control coronavirus.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has commended Singapore's response to the Covid-19 crisis, which he said Australia had looked at very carefully as it planned its own response.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday met his Australian counterpart in a video call for the 5th annual Singapore-Australia leaders' meeting.

In an interview with The Australian newspaper on Friday, PM Lee said Singapore had been reasonably successful at hindering the transmission of Covid-19, despite being a densely populated island, “because of good social trust, ample medical capacity and extensive contact tracing”.

"If I made an analogy, it is not that the tide has turned, it is that we put the dykes up," PM Lee said.

In a further measure to stop the spread of coronavirus, Singapore Airlines will be grounding around 138 SIA and SilkAir aircraft, out of a total fleet of 147.

The SIA group's low-cost unit Scoot will also suspend most of its network, resulting in the grounding of 47 of its fleet of 49 aircraft.

To help customers affected by flight cancellations, Scoot has launched a self-service refund option on its website for all those with bookings made on or before 15 March 2020, for travel dates until 31 May 2020. The option can be found on Scoot’s Manage My Booking portal on its website.

Scoot’s call centre based in the Philippines has had to suspend operations as a precautionary measure by the Philippines government.

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