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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Singapore opening up to vaccinated travellers

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Singapore stated on Saturday (9 October) that it was expanding its Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme to a total of 11 countries as the city-state learns to “live with COVID-19.”

Following Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s televised speech, Singapore announced that vaccinated travelers from the specified countries would be allowed to bypass quarantines if they were vaccinated against COVID-19 and completed a pre-departure test 48 hours before their flight and an on-arrival test, both of which came back negative.

Brunei, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States are among the countries covered in the new program.

Singapore, according to the prime minister, will have to adapt to a “new normal” of living with COVID-19. “How will we know when we’ve arrived at the new normal?” It will be when we can relax limitations, have only light [safe management measures] in place, and cases remain steady, possibly hundreds each day, but not expanding,” Lee said.

“When our hospitals can restore normal operations when we can begin doing the things we used to do and see crowds without being concerned or feeling uncomfortable…

It will take us at least three months, and possibly up to six months, to adjust to this new normal.”

During a news conference on Saturday, Transport Minister S Iswaran stated that the vaccinated travel lanes would restore “two-way quarantine-free travel” between Singapore and the program’s 11 participating countries.

According to him, up to 3,000 travelers per day from all 11 vaccinated travel lane nations will be able to enter Singapore at first. “We will evaluate the incidence rate and demand before making any future capacity additions.”

According to Iswaran, the 11 vaccinated travel lane countries contributed to roughly 10% of pre-pandemic annual passenger arrivals at Changi Airport, and they are also among Singapore’s top 20 trading partners.

“In Singapore, they have huge investments, a strong economic presence, and sizable communities.” As a result, it is critical that we reconnect with them as soon as possible,” he stated.

The establishment of the travel lanes is an important step toward reopening Singapore’s borders and reestablishing the country’s role as an international aviation hub, he noted.

“We want to restore safe two-way quarantine-free travel with additional countries and regions throughout the world, and we’re working on it.”

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