Singapore would not rule out further travel restrictions if the deadly coronavirus situation worsened, its government said on Monday, when asked if its ban might widen to travellers from Hong Kong. Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah had asked in Parliament whether the city state planned to expand its ban on all foreign visitors arriving from mainland China to include its special administrative region of Hong Kong. “Hong Kong is very near [mainland] China, and there’s concern among residents as well,” said Lee, who represents the Nee Soon ward. The National development minister Lawrence Wong replied that the country would not dismiss such a possibility, but said various things needed to be considered first. “Our approach is to [look] at evidence, at the source of where the virus is, how widely it is spreading, and which are the at-risk sources,” said Wong, who co-chairs a multi-ministry task force dealing with the virus. If the new coronavirus doesn’t get you in Malaysia, fake, racist news about it might “We will not rule out more action on travel restrictions but it has to be based not just on geographical proximity or distance but based on evidence on the nature of the virus [and] how widely it is spreading.” The travel ban enacted on Friday applies to all foreign travellers arriving from mainland China, and those who have visited it within the past 14 days, but not those arriving from Hong Kong. Singapore was among the first countries to restrict travel in an effort to stem the spread of the virus, which has infected more than 17,000 people in mainland China, and killed 362 people (all but one of them in mainland China). The US made a similar move hours later, with Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines following suit over the weekend. On Monday, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the city would shut almost all land and sea borders with the Chinese mainland. Her announcement came after increasing pressure on her administration. Some Hongkongers fear that if the city detects more cases some countries could widen restrictions on travellers from mainland China to include Hong Kong. This was a concern for Li, 37, a Hongkonger whose husband is a Singaporean. Li, who is pregnant, said that she had been planning to fly to Singapore to give birth because of recent anti-government protests in Hong Kong. “But with the sudden [virus] outbreak, I have bought an advanced ticket to fly to Singapore soonest, in case they close the borders to visitors from Hong Kong,” said the housewife. Singapore closes borders to all foreign travellers from China Li said she would not have blamed countries for banning Hongkongers given the “indecisive way” the Hong Kong government had handled the situation. The Philippines has banned all foreign travellers, apart from those with residency rights, arriving from mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau. On Monday, it reported that 300 Chinese people had been left stranded at its airports after airlines cancelled their flights. The action followed Manila’s confirmation of the first coronavirus death outside China, a 44-year-old Chinese man who was visiting the Philippines. The man was one of only two confirmed cases in the country, though it is investigating nearly 70 more suspected cases. Singapore has 18 confirmed cases, most of whom are travellers from the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province, which is the epicentre of the outbreak. Two of the cases are Singaporeans who visited Hubei. Hong Kong has 15 confirmed cases. Li said that if Singapore banned Hong Kong travellers, it would probably inconvenience those with friends and family in the city state, but added that the government was firm in “protecting its own people”. However, she added that it would be an “odd move” given that Hong Kong had fewer cases of infection than Singapore. National development minister Wong also pointed this out, quipping: “Maybe people will want to apply travel restrictions on Singapore then.” Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.