Coronavirus: New measures for passengers, crew of private jets landing in Singapore

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN) - Should any passenger or crew member have a fever of 37.5 deg C and above, or have respiratory symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, sore throat, or shortness of breath, the plane operator will be told to operate the flight as a medical evacuation flight, with the unwell person considered a patient.

New measures for passengers and crew of private or corporate jets will kick in late Thursday (March 12), even as more imported cases of the coronavirus are reported here.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on Tuesday said that new measures for these planes, also known as business aviation aircraft, will require their passengers and crew to make health declarations before they fly into Singapore.

This and related measures kick in at 11.59pm on Thursday, and the affected planes include passenger chartered planes and owner operated aircraft.

Should any passenger or crew member have a fever of 37.5 deg C and above, or have respiratory symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, sore throat, or shortness of breath, the plane operator will be told to operate the flight as a medical evacuation flight, with the unwell person considered a patient.

Patients on such flights need to be tested negative for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, at the country they are departing from before they can fly to Singapore.

These patients will also need to have a hospital in Singapore to receive them, and a risk assessment of the patients must be provided to the hospital. This applies even to those who have conditions that are not infectious.

As for private or corporate jets that do not get classified as medical evacuation flights, if any of their passengers and crew have fever or have other respiratory illnesses when they arrive here, and they are also not Singapore residents, they will not be allowed to enter Singapore.
Such planes must turn around as soon as possible, bearing in mind medical and flight safety, CAAS said.

But if the passengers and crew arriving here on these non-medical evacuation flights are Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders, they will have to go through the current arrival screening process, which may include a swab test, before entering Singapore.

Long-term pass holders include those on work, student's and dependant's passes.

CAAS warned that passengers and crew on private or corporate jets who make false declarations can be prosecuted under the Infectious Diseases Act, with fines, imprisonment sentences, or both, listed as penalties.

While the authority did not say why it issued the new requirements on Tuesday, it comes after the Ministry of Health announced on Monday that a 64-year-old Indonesian man, who landed in Singapore at Seletar Airport on Saturday, was confirmed to have the coronavirus. Seletar airport is often used for business jets and private jets.

The Indonesian man is an imported case. Other imported cases reported in recent days include a British man and an Italian man, although it is not clear which checkpoints they cleared to enter Singapore.

The Indonesian first reported having Covid-19 symptoms on March 3 in Indonesia, and had a fever when he arrived at Seletar Airport and had a swab test at the checkpoint. He was Singapore's first case to be picked up at the checkpoints using the swab test.

He was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases by ambulance on Saturday night and confirmed to have the infection on Sunday morning.

Before being hospitalised, he mostly stayed at his rental apartment in the Oxley Road area.

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