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Omicron: Singapore suspends crew change from African countries 

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Seafarers as endangered species amidst #COVID

Abiola Seun

Singapore has suspended crew change and vaccination of seafarers with recent travel history to six southern African nations over fears concerning the Omicron variant.

In what the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) described as a “precautionary measure” in a circular,  crew change and vaccination was suspended for seafarers that had travelled in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe in the previous 14 days to arriving in Singapore.

“This includes sign-on crew travelling to  Singapore by flight as well as sign-off crew from vessels that have called at  Botswana,  Eswatini,  Lesotho,  Mozambique,  Namibia,  South  Africa  and Zimbabwe,” the circular said.

It also covers, “Sign-on  crew  transiting  Botswana,  Eswatini,  Lesotho,  Mozambique,  Namibia,  South  Africa  and  Zimbabwe  on  their  connecting  flights  to Singapore.”

The circular is in line with travel restrictions already introduced for non-citizens/residents of Singapore since the discovery of the omicron variant.

Transport representative bodies have warned that “knee-jerk” travel bans over the omicron variant of Covid-19 are putting the supply chain at risk.

At least 56 countries had introduced travel restrictions over the latest strain of the virus.

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