All healthcare workers in S'pore allowed to apply for overseas leave: MOH Holdings

SINGAPORE – The Ministry of Health (MOH) has lifted the suspension on overseas leave application for all healthcare workers.

This comes after almost two years of long working hours and being away from their loved ones for some doctors and nurses.

The update was announced on Tuesday (Oct 19) in an MOH Holdings circular to healthcare workers.

MOH Holdings is the holding company of Singapore’s public healthcare institutions.

The circular said: “With the recent government announcement on the streamlined protocols and the newly opened Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) on Oct 9, MOH has further reviewed the overseas travel guidelines for healthcare workers.”

The VTL arrangement allows travellers to visit 11 countries without undergoing quarantine if passengers are fully vaccinated. They must also take two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, before departure and on arrival.

These countries, whose Covid-19 situations are stable, are Brunei, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Britain and the United States.

On Tuesday, MOH Holdings said: “All overseas travel shall be subject to MOH’s prevailing travel advisory as well as the national travel health control measures found on the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority website.”

Checks by The Straits Times showed that these include having a passport with a validity period of at least six months and having the required entry visa for destination countries.

MOH Holdings added that healthcare professionals who wish to travel overseas should declare their vaccination status and indicate the country and city of their overseas trip when they apply for annual leave.

ST understands that both public and private healthcare providers have been making preparations so that their staff can go on vacation.

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Dr Prem Kumar Nair, IHH Healthcare Singapore’s chief executive, told ST that since Monday, it has lifted all travel restrictions on its staff.

IHH Healthcare Singapore manages Mount Elizabeth Orchard, Mount Elizabeth Novena, Gleneagles Hospital and Parkway East Hospital.

Dr Nair said: “We are grateful to all our foreign employees who have sacrificed being with their families to continue working with us to care for our patients over the past 20 months.”

ST has contacted MOH for comment.

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