Singapore will allow quarantine-free travel for fully-vaccinated people from five more countries, including Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, as the island-city presses on with its plans to reopen its borders and restore its status as a travel hub.
Innoculated visitors from Indonesia and India will be able to enter Singapore from Nov. 29 and those from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar from Dec. 6 without having to quarantine, the Ministry of Health said in a statement Monday.
Singapore plans to start the arrangement with Indonesia with two designated flights between Singapore and Jakarta everyday, transport minister S. Iswaran said. There will be two daily flights each to Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai, he said.
Singapore started gradually reopening its borders to general travel in September when it kicked off a vaccinated travel lane with Germany and Brunei. The city-state, home to the world’s best airport for eight years until 2020, has ditched its Covid-Zero policy and pivoted to an approach of living with the virus.
Vaccinated travel program
Currently, there are 13 countries, including the US, Canada and Italy, under the VTL program. Malaysia, Finland and Sweden will join the list on Nov. 29. Details on the travel arrangement with Malaysia will be available later this week.
The daily quota for those arriving in Singapore under the VTL program will increase to 10,000 when the latest countries are added to the list, from 6,000, according to the statement. As of Nov. 14, more than 24,000 vaccinated travelers have entered Singapore under these arrangements.
With 85% of its population fully inoculated, the country is trying to tread a path of reopening to rebuild its status as a hub and keeping a tight lid of infections that may overwhelm its health care system.
Passenger traffic at Changi Airport, Asia’s second-busiest for international flights last year, was just 2% of pre-Covid levels in the first nine months of the year. Singapore Airlines Ltd. has been losing money due to the pandemic.
Here are more details of Singapore’s reopening steps:
- Singapore is allowing more migrant workers who have been confined to their dormitories to rejoin the community — from 3,000 vaccinated workers per week to 3,000 per day.
- Singapore is piloting the resumption of business events as well as sports and live performances with vaccination and testing. This begins with the Milken Institute Asia Summit and Bloomberg New Economy Forum this week, followed by a two-day charity concert later this month.
- Officials say they’re working towards a phased resumption of international events, such as the Formula One night racing event that drew droves of international visitors. Singapore in talks with F1 management and organizer on renewed contract
- Authorities are looking to implement access control and checking systems at hawker centres to differentiate between patrons who are fully vaccinated and those who aren’t inoculated. Once the systems are in place, up to five people living in the same residence can dine at those places. Currently, this rule only applies to restaurants.
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