Singapore extends quarantine-free travel eyes COVID-19 ‘new normal’

People eat in a hawker center during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore September 21, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE, Oct. 9 (Reuters) – Singapore opens its borders to more countries for quarantine-free travel as the city-state wants rebuild his status as a international aviation hub, and is preparing to achieve a “new normal to live with COVID-19.

From 19 Oct. fully vaccinated people from eight countries, including Great Britain, France, Spain and the United States, will be able to enter the island without in to go quarantine if they pass their COVID-19 tests, the government said on Saturday.

The announcement marks a major step in Singapore’s strategy to resume international links.

The Southeast Asian nation, one of the world’s largest travel and financial hubs, is home to the Asian headquarters of thousands of global companies whose executives have long trusted on Singapore’s connectivity.

The country of 5.45 million people has reported record daily COVID-19 infections of more than 3,000 over the past several days, although almost all cases are asymptomatic of be mild. about 83% of the population is fully vaccinated, one of the world’s highest prices.

Singapore recently re-imposed coronavirus restrictions to: buy time to prepare for live with the disease but the step used to be met with some rare frustration as the government runs a fine line between reopening and preventing hospitals from becoming overloaded.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore has a new normal and can ease restrictions when cases stabilize, even if they remain in the hundreds.

“It will take us at least three months, and perhaps as long as six months, to get there,” Lee said: in a speech to the nation, die has kept the virus largely at bay since then last year with masks, contact tracing and a closed border.

“After this wave stabilizes, we can still see” future peaks, especially if new variants arise. We may have to tap on the brakes again if fallen again grow too fast, to protect our healthcare system and health professionals,” Lee said.

The government will tighten rules for die who remain unvaccinated from Wednesday, preventing them from entering malls and eating in the country’s ubiquitous hawker centers. It will review some COVID-19 curbs in a week of two.

Singapore travel program for fully vaccinated people began in September with Germany and Brunei, as well as South Korea from next month. read more

Up to 3,000 travelers will be able to enter daily via the vaccinated lanes, a far cry from the record 19.1 million travelers to the city-stands in 2019. Borders remain largely closed to key Asian countries.

Singapore discusses two-way quarantine-free travel with multiple more countries, the government said.

“We hope this further relaxation of measures and expansion of The reopening of the border in Singapore will push other markets to follow their paths to restart in the same way air travel,” said Philip Goh, vice president of Asia-Pacific for the International Air Transport Association.

Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI) said in a statement that it will expand its vaccinated lane networks to 14 cities.

The flagship company, die solely relies on on international travel, lost record S$4.27 Billion ($3.15 Billion) in the year until March, it is second year in the Red.

Changi . Airport in Singapore was one of the world’s busiest in 2019, with more than 68 million passengers, before the trip crashed last year because of the pandemic.

“Since the Singapore economy is extremely dependent on external demand for our goods and services, very simply put, any moves Which help to cancel the number of to flee die will be handled by Changi Airport add to our GDP,” said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB Private Banking.

The country has hit what hiccups on the transition to an endemic COVID-19 as the population was focused on avoiding the for almost two years. The leader said the high vaccination coverage meant people be better protected against the virus, which is likely to infect almost everyone.

“To leave us to go over our daily activities as normal as possible, taking the necessary precautions,” said Lee should respect COVID-19, but we must not be paralyzed by fear.

($1 = 1.3551 Singaporean dollar)

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan and Anshuman Daga in Singapore; Editing by William Mallard

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Read More: World News

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