Travel restrictions

Singapore to further ease Covid curbs, including travel restrictions

Most cases now have mild or no symptoms

Singapore:

Singapore will lift restrictions for all vaccinated travelers from next week, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hailing it on Thursday 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 travelers arriving in Asia-Pacific, Singapore had already launched quarantine-free travel programs with certain countries in recent months.

From April 1, fully vaccinated adults and unvaccinated children will be allowed to enter the country without quarantine, provided they pass a test before departure, officials said.

Mr Lee said Singapore had taken a “major step” in its efforts to live with the virus.

The easing of travel restrictions “will reconnect Singapore to the world”, he said in a televised address.

“This will provide a much-needed boost to business, particularly the tourism sector, and help Singapore regain its position as a business and aviation hub.”

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

A range of other coronavirus measures have also been eased, with Singaporeans no longer required to wear masks outside and people allowed to gather in groups of 10, down from five previously.

At the start of the pandemic, the country of 5.5 million people kept the number of Covid-19 cases low thanks to border closures and a strict lockdown.

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

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

International visitor arrivals fell to just 2.7 million that year, from over 19 million in 2019.

Singapore’s approach contrasts with rival financial hub Hong Kong, where arrivals still have to endure lengthy hotel quarantines.

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

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)