Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Singapore set to lift coronavirus travel curbs in ‘major milestone’



Singapore set to lift coronavirus travel curbs in ‘major milestone’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
People walk past the Merlion statue in Singapore on Thursday. AFP

Singapore set to lift coronavirus travel curbs in ‘major milestone’

Singapore will lift restrictions for all vaccinated travellers from next week, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on March 24 hailing it as a “major milestone” in the aviation hub’s efforts to live with Covid-19.

The city-state is the latest Asian country to ease travel restrictions in a region that has generally been more reluctant to lift barriers than Europe and North America.

A gateway for many travellers arriving in the Asia-Pacific, Singapore had already started quarantine-free travel schemes with some countries in recent months.

From April 1, fully vaccinated adults and unvaccinated children will be allowed to enter the country without quarantining, as long as they take a pre-departure test, officials said.

Lee said Singapore had reached a “major milestone” in its efforts to live with the virus.

Easing travel curbs will “reconnect Singapore with the world,” he said in a televised address.

“It will give a much-needed boost to businesses, particularly the tourism sector, and it will help Singapore reclaim its position as a business and aviation hub.”

Only travellers on a “restricted list” will face curbs in entering Singapore, although there are currently no countries on the list.

A raft of other coronavirus measures were also eased, with people in Singapore no longer required to wear masks outside, and limits on group sizes raised to 10, up from five previously.

At the start of the pandemic, the country of 5.5 million kept Covid-19 cases low through border closures and a tough lockdown.

It has faced sizeable outbreaks since last year and, with some of the world’s highest vaccination rates, authorities have shifted to a policy of living with the virus.

The pandemic plunged Singapore into its worst-ever recession in 2020 as the trading hub closed its borders.

International visitor arrivals dropped to just 2.7 million that year from more than 19 million in 2019.

Singapore’s approach stands in contrast to rival financial hub Hong Kong, where arrivals are still required to undergo lengthy quarantines in hotels.

Following Singapore’s announcement, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam was forced to defend her administration’s approach, insisting the Chinese city remained an “attractive” financial centre.

“The policies and measures to be adopted by each government in combating Covid differ,” she said.

Like mainland China, Hong Kong has stuck to a zero-Covid policy, but the approach has led to an exodus of foreign and local residents, and failed to stop a fierce Omicron outbreak in recent months.

Other countries in the Asia-Pacific that have recently announced an easing of travel restrictions include Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

MOST VIEWED

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Textile industry minimum wage now $200

    The official minimum wage for workers in textile-related sectors including garment, footwear, and travel goods for 2023 was pegged at $198, with Prime Minister Hun Sen stepping in to add $2 to the total, making it $200 per month. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training made the announcement