SINGAPORE – Singaporean students returning to the United Kingdom may have escaped being quarantined upon their arrival, but are likely to face new restrictions as the country experiences a spike in Covid-19 cases.
The UK is into its second wave of coronavirus infection, recording 6,873 new coronavirus cases last Friday (Sept 24).
This was the highest daily figure since mass testing began. This comes as many Singaporean students have returned to the UK following the lifting of the 14-day quarantine requirement for travellers from the Republic on Sept 19.
With the rise in number of cases in the UK, the returning students may be facing another round of circuit breaker-like restrictions.
However, some remain unfazed, and even welcome the move towards greater regulation in the UK.
“A lockdown will be quite reassuring because the number of cases in the UK has been rising and there is some anxiety about going back,” said Ms Yang Xin, 22, a third-year medical student at the University of Oxford.
She changed her flight from one scheduled for Sept 19 to another on Sept 26 on learning about the relaxation of the quarantine.
Second-year biology student Bryan Tan, 21, at the University of Cambridge agreed, saying it would be difficult to stop the spread of the virus without adequate government response.
“There are some minor regulations already in place but they don’t seem to be helping to curb the exponential spread.
“So some form of lockdown, even a minor one, seems like the next logical step.”
Travel for students is currently not discouraged by the Singapore Government.
The Health Ministry in an advisory on Sept 1 said travel is allowed for students pursuing qualifications overseas, and if distance learning is not an option.
However, The Straits Times understands that the relevant ministries are monitoring the situation in the UK.
Some students are still not taking the risk.
Ms Beatrice Tan, who is studying social sciences with quantitative methods at University College London, was supposed to leave for the UK this month for her final year.
However, her parents advised her to delay her return to London.
“It’s bittersweet, not going back,” said the disappointed 23-year-old. “I really want to, but not many people will be there and all my lessons are online anyway.”
Her mother, Madam Loo Mee Fong, said her daughter’s health was the primary reason for the decision not to return to the UK.
“It is not safe and there are many cases. If she gets the virus there, she wouldn’t be able to fly back, and I cannot go and visit her,” said Madam Loo, 55, a housewife.
“As a mother, you are sure to worry.”