This preparedness is accompanied by measures taken on the news that a viral new pneumonia was showing signs of spreading in Wuhan and Hubei province. In Singapore, temperature screening of incoming passengers from Wuhan starts in early January, and a complete ban on inbound flights from Wuhan is imposed on January 23, 2020. From the beginning of February, Singapore has imposed increasingly strict controls on incoming travel, broadening it to the various areas affected severely by COVID-19, and extended in mid-March to all foreigners.
A feature of Singapore’s containment strategy is the swab testing of incoming passengers showing mild symptoms. Since mid-January, the government has worked to expand screening rooms at various checkpoints. The test kits with a 99% success rate used at the checkpoints are developed in February by The Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX), and a Singaporean company, Veredus, to facilitate in vitro diagnosis. Tests are now conducted on the basis of a tiered system of controls classifying passengers according to risk.
On February 7, the government raised its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level to "orange"- instituting multiple precautionary measures for large-scale events, the workplace, and at the individual level, such as regular checks for fever and respiratory symptoms.
The Singaporean government also puts the emphasis on sharper contact-tracing tools, the creation of more laboratories, and higher investment levels in biomedical science and clinical research.
As other East Asian countries, Singapore emphasises the production, the availability and the wearing of masks. On February 4, the government undertakes a massive operation of distributing 4 FFP2 masks per household per week from the government-run stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and masks.