Singapore is to lift border restrictions for travellers from Taiwan starting December 18, exempting them from a quarantine period provided they test negative for Covid-19.
Singapore’s Minister for Transport, Ong Ye Kung, told Channel News Asia that the city-state was taking “another step” in opening its borders. Taiwan is a “very safe partner to do a unilateral opening” with, he was quoted as saying.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in a separate statement that same day that Taiwan had “a comprehensive public health surveillance system and has displayed successful control over the spread of the Covid-19 virus.”
“Over the past 28 days, Taiwan has zero local Covid-19 cases. The risk of importation from Taiwan is low,” the CAAS added. The unilateral measure applies to visitors from Taiwan, as well as Singaporean citizens and those with permanent and long-term residence permits for the city-state, returning from Taiwan.
Visitors arriving in Singapore must have spent the previous 14 consecutive days in Taiwan before departure, and must travel to Singapore “on direct flights without transit,” said the CAAS.
Travellers from Taiwan would need to take a test on arrival in Singapore, and if they test negative, they would be exempt from home quarantine. But the city-state requires incoming travellers to download a contact tracing app called “TraceTogether” and apply for an “Air Travel Pass”.
The authorities in Singapore said they would also update the travel advisory to allow travel to Taiwan. But they warned that travellers should “check the entry requirements imposed by Taiwan and take the necessary precautionary measures.”
Taiwan reduced a few weeks ago the quarantine period for so-called “essential business travellers” from Singapore to just five days. But the authorities there maintain travel restrictions on Singapore for now, according to the Taiwan News outlet.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Friday that it appreciated the decision by the Singaporean government, stating it would contribute to trade exchanges. The step was conducive to future negotiations for a travel bubble between the two sides, stated the ministry.
This latest initiative by Singapore follows the earlier lifting of border restrictions for visitors from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Mainland China, New Zealand and Vietnam. According to Singapore’s authorities, as of December 10, the city-state had approved 9,284 applications for visitors from these places, and received 4,050 visitors. All had tested negative for Covid-19.
Singapore was to have in place a travel bubble with Hong Kong in late November, but the plan was deferred to “beyond 2020” by mutual agreement between the two places, due to an uptick of Covid-19 infections in Hong Kong.
The city-state’s two casino complexes, Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa – which had both been shuttered earlier in the health crisis – have already flagged the fact that their hotel facilities are currently being marketed to domestic customers, in the absence of meaningful numbers of foreign visitors.
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