Covid-19 update from Ambassador Kvarnström

Photo: Helena Reitberger

In this month’s newsletter from Swedish Ambassador Niclas Kvarnström to all Swedes residing in Singapore, the Ambassador gives an update on the current Covid-19 situation in the city-island state as well as information on travel between Sweden and Singapore.

The newsletter reads:

Friends,

Summer is fast approaching and I know that many Swedes in Singapore have not seen loved ones for a very long time and that many hope to go home this summer. Many of us have probably hoped that a slowdown in the number of Covid cases in combination with vaccination would result in a somewhat freer situation this year. However, with the recent increase of Covid-19 cases here in Singapore and stricter restrictions, it, unfortunately, seems that strict restrictions will remain for some time to come. The authorities here have been quick to act and, as you probably know, have stepped up infection control measures, initially now during May. 

It is above all travel that restrictions are aimed at, and two major measures have been taken. First, as of 11 May, Singapore has reduced the number of arrivals from countries that Singapore considers high-risk countries (most countries in the world, including Sweden) for the time being by postponing entry permits for people with Work Passes to indefinite dates and not receiving new applications. Read more in the embassy’s news article. It is important to keep in mind that Singapore, like Sweden, advises against unnecessary travel abroad. If you intend to return, you should carefully examine what applies to yourself and any family member regarding entry permits back to Singapore before traveling. The embassy is aware that some incorrect information is being spread which claims that if you are vaccinated you can travel to Singapore, but this is not true.

The second is that the quarantine period after entry has been increased from 14 to 21 days, except for a few countries, and that you must take three Covid-19 tests after arrival. The embassy currently does not know any exceptions regarding this due to possible vaccination.

The embassy continuously updates the travel information on our website. There you will find a special page with information related to covid-19, the most relevant rules regarding travel, permits, tests, etc. as well as links to relevant and current pages from both Swedish and Singaporean local authorities. Rules and recommendations change continuously depending on how the pandemic develops.

Feel free to sign up for the Swedish list, i.e. the list of which Swedes are in Singapore and your contact information. This allow the Embassy to get an overview of how many Swedes live in Singapore, and the embassy can also use the information to contact Swedes with more urgent information should the need arise. This is the only thing the contact information is used for.

Regarding entry into Sweden, it can be briefly said that foreign citizens must present a negative Covid test to enter Sweden. For Swedish citizens, it is recommended that you take a test on arrival. All entrants are recommended 7 days of self-isolation and another test after 5 days. More information is available at the Swedish Public Health Agency’s website.

There is still a travel ban to Sweden for non-EU citizens, currently, it applies until 31 August. However, there are a lot of exceptions, such as for residents of Singapore. All information about this can be found here.

For questions about transit in different countries and itineraries and similar questions, we refer to the authorities of the countries in question.

The positive news is that it is now again possible for people who are not Swedish or Singaporean citizens to apply for a Schengen visa to Sweden (for visits up to 90 days). As before, the Danish Embassy in Singapore handles visa applications to Sweden. To apply, please make an appointment with VFS Global in Singapore. More information about visas can be found on our website.

The embassy is always available to answer questions or talk to Swedes who have encountered problems. However, I would like to emphasize the limitations of the embassy on these issues. We can not influence border, entry, and infection control measures such as quarantine. We must also comply with the rules decided by authorities in both Sweden and Singapore. We know that Covid-19 means a lot of stress for everyone, and we see (and understand) that frustration is growing around the restrictions that exist. My experience is that Swedes in Singapore have been fantastically resilient and met the regulations with calm and patience. Due to a couple of occasional incidents, however, I would also like to take this opportunity to appeal to as respectful treatment as possible of our skilled and experienced staff in the “door” (one of my two colleagues there has actually worked at the embassy for forty years!) And not take out frustration on them for things we can not influence. Our goal is to help as best we can, and we also assist with advice and information.

I wish you a happy summer with this despite Covid-19 and hope that we will soon see lightning in our lives. We will do our best to contribute to (preferably digital) cohesion through Swedish events which we will inform about here.

Greetings,

Niclas

About Mette Larsen

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

View all posts by Mette Larsen

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