Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong (pictured), said on Thursday the government will ease “substantially” the city-state’s cross-border travel restrictions from Tuesday (March 29), as the Covid-19 situation there comes under control. Singapore will also reopen its borders to all fully-vaccinated travellers from April 1, said separately the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.
In a speech broadcast live on Thursday morning, Mr Lee said testing and quarantine requirements for travellers will be streamlined under a “simplified vaccinated-travel framework”. The local authorities will then be removing from April 1 all existing vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) and unilateral opening arrangements.
Arrivals from abroad “constitute only a very small proportion” of new Covid-19 cases, said the prime minister. “We can therefore safely open up our borders. We will drastically streamline testing and quarantine requirements for travellers,” he added.
“This simplified vaccinated travel framework will let Singaporeans travel abroad more easily, almost like they did before Covid-19,” said Mr Lee.
He added the city-state would “also lift most restrictions for fully-vaccinated visitors entering Singapore”. “This will reconnect Singapore with the world, it will give a much-needed boost to businesses, particularly the tourism sector,” he added.
Under the current VTL scheme, only travellers who remain in VTL-designated countries for the previous seven days before entering Singapore, can be exempted from quarantine and isolation requirements.
With the new set of protocols, countries and regions will be classified under one of two categories – “general travel” or “restricted”.
All fully-vaccinated travellers will be able to enter Singapore with just a pre-departure Covid-19 ‘negative’ test result. They will also no longer need to apply for entry approvals or take designated VTL transport to enter Singapore quarantine-free. In addition, there will be no more quotas on the number of daily arrivals.
People aged 13 or above who are not fully vaccinated will not be allowed to enter Singapore, with a few exceptions, said the local authorities.
Singapore has a casino duopoly, split between Marina Bay Sands, run by a unit of United States-based Las Vegas Sands Corp, and Resorts World Sentosa, operated by Genting Singapore Ltd.
On Thursday, Mr Lee also said that wearing masks outdoors would “now be optional,” and that the local authorities would “increase the capacity for larger events and settings to 75 percent.”
On Wednesday, it was reported that the health ministers of Malaysia and Singapore had agreed to work on resuming completely, travel ties between the two places, including enabling full resumption of air and land links for fully-vaccinated people. Singapore initiated an air travel scheme with Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, on November 29.
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