So you’ve just touched down in Singapore, cleared immigration and what’s next? Mandatory Stay Home Notice (a.k.a, quarantine) for some cases.
Quarantine rules are ever-changing. And with more people getting vaccinated, travel measures are slowly easing up in Singapore and in other parts of the world. But that doesn’t mean quarantine can cease just yet.
Depending on your travel history, you may still be required to serve a SHN. This may seem scary at first, but this list of things will keep you prepped and primed for your stay. From activities to stave off boredom to HDMI cables to access a variety of content.
First things first, what’s a SHN in Singapore?
All persons arriving in Singapore, regardless of nationality, may be subject to SHN – depending on your 14-day travel history. In short, serving a SHN is to basically quarantine in an assigned place and you are not allowed outside of your room unless you’re heading to your Covid swab test appointment. Don’t worry, food and other necessities will be delivered right to your door, and your loved ones are welcome to send you food packages as well – but no visits! Yeah, SG means *business.
[*Individuals who breach their SHNs may be prosecuted under the Infectious Diseases (COVID-19 – Stay Orders) Regulations 2020. First-time offenders can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to six months or both. Yeah, SG means business. (This explains everything you need to know about SHN rules and regulations.)]
For how long and where?
Depending on your travel history, you may be required to quarantine either in a dedicated facility (which are usually assigned hotel rooms) or a declared place of accommodation for 7 to 10 days. You will be informed of the arrangement upon your arrival. However, if you’re arriving from countries that are included the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) agreement, you may not need to serve at all. See below for full details.
In an effort to slowly ease travel borders as more individuals are fully vaccinated, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Ministry of Health announced new border and quarantine measures on 8 November 2021. These will take effect on 11 November 2021 and will affect all individuals travelling into Singapore.
Countries are divided to five categories: Vaccinated Travel Lane, Category I, II, III and IV. The countries in each category are as follows:
Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL)
SHN required?: No.
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US).
From 15 November 2021, South Korea will be included in this category.
From 29 November 2021, Finland, Malaysia and Sweden will also be included in this category.
SHN required?: No.
Hong Kong, Mainland China and Taiwan.
SHN required?: 7 days at a declared place of accommodation.
Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bhutan, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Cambodia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Fiji, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Rwanda, South Korea, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tonga, Turkey, United Arab Emirates (UAE), UK, US, Vatican City and Vietnam.
SHN required?: 10 days at a declared place of accommodation.
Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Estonia, Ethiopia, India, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Ukraine.
SHN required?: 10 days at a dedicated SHN facility.
All other countries/regions.
For a full summary of the latest travel measures in Singapore, have a look at the infographic prepared by Channel News Asia below or head to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority’s Safe Travel website.
What to expect when serving a SHN in Singapore
We have curated a list of tips and tricks from former SHN individuals (from the “Singapore Hotel Quarantine Information & Experience” Facebook group and some team insiders) that will make your stay a good one.
*Please note that the tips kindly provided by the individuals we consulted vary depending on the hotel one is assigned to. Not all hotels will provide the same amenities. However, these tips may still be useful in one’s preparation.
Check out these tried-and-tested SHN hacks below!
1. The mandatories
Tip #1: The inevitable Covid swab test
The swab is long and administered through the nose. The nurses gently push it far back into each nostril and you might tear up a little. The tip is to relax so there’s little resistance – because tensing up may bring more discomfort!
“The COVID test is not as scary as many make it out to be – a lot of it is sheer exaggeration. It’s true that the swab goes all the way to the back of your nose, but it’s so thin that you barely feel a slight tickle – your eyes might water a bit if you’re more sensitive, but the person administering the test will take note of first-timers doing the test. Do trust that they will do it quickly and gently (the swab stays in your nose for about 15 seconds). The test will happen towards the end of your SHN (around day 10) and you will be notified of the result via phone call.” – Rosie S.
“Some people find it unpleasant (me) and some hardly notice [the discomfort]. Either way it’s 20 seconds. It won’t do you any harm. So no need to stress about it and [the good thing is] at least you get out of the room for a bit. Note that results [are] available via the HealthHub app (for residents) long before you get the results call.” – Rob Welsby
Tip #2: Expect complete isolation
Unless you’re arriving as a couple or family, you will be isolated alone in a single room. (Though some hotels may issue connecting rooms for family members.) Visits aren’t allowed either for safety purposes but friends and family are welcome to drop off food or other items at the front desk of the hotel. Food and drinks will be provided by the hotel but if they’re not to your taste, feel free to order in from any food delivery apps. (Read on for some recommendations!)
Tip #3: Frequent check-ins from government officials
Officers from the International Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will contact individuals regularly to ensure that all are staying in their assigned locations. In most cases, the ICA officers will contact SHN individuals via a WhatsApp video call, or conduct room-to-room physical check-ins.
“Staff from the ICA will call you twice daily to verify your identity and location; they will request that you to turn on your video camera briefly to verify you are in your room. For those without a local number, you can expect the people from ICA showing up at your door every other day in addition to the calls. This may start to feel annoying, but try to bear with them – the checks are very brief and they are polite about it!” – Rosie S.
*Note: SHN official information is compiled from government agencies (International Checkpoints Authority (ICA), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Ministry of Health (MOH)). All SHN tips and experiences quoted are kindly provided (with permission) by former SHN individuals credited from the “Singapore Hotel Quarantine Information & Experience” Facebook group and from friends of The Finder.
By Willaine G. Tan / Updated November 2021.