According to the trade minister, Singapore is mulling trial programs that would allow groups of vaccinated travelers to enter the nation on carefully controlled itineraries as it draws closer to reopening its border.
“We continue to look at countries including the U.S., U.K., Australia and so on to explore possibilities of opening up,” Gan Kim Yong, Singapore’s trade and industry minister, told Haslinda Amin in a Bloomberg Television interview Tuesday. The country may start with pilot arrangements for travellers “bubble wrapped to prevent transmission of the disease,” particularly for vaccinated visitors.
A more extensive reopening, however, would depend on countries around the world controlling the pandemic, he cautioned.
“It will also require the whole world’s infection to come under control because Singapore is an open economy,” Gan said, when asked when the country can have bigger gathering sizes and longer opening hours for restaurants. “It’s important for us to bear in mind that infections will continue until the whole world is safe, and also we have to bear in mind that vaccines today, although it is very effective against severe diseases, it is somewhat less effective to prevent transmission.”
In September, when 80 percent of the city-population state’s is projected to be fully vaccinated, the city-state plans to remove more virus restrictions, including allowing quarantine-free travel. Officials have stated that the high immunization rate will allow authorities to relax their restrictions.
As Singapore’s full immunization rate rises from its current 76 percent, which is among the best in the world, according to Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker, the government has hinted at a cautious reopening through the end of the year. Simultaneously, the city-state has fought to keep recent case clusters under control and serious hospitalizations to a minimum.
Singapore approved some loosening of virus-related restrictions for vaccinated persons earlier this month as part of a policy to treat Covid as an endemic presence in the future years, including dining at restaurants in groups of five for those completely inoculated. This week, the government is expected to announce a relaxation of work-from-home regulations.
The relaxation of limitations comes at a difficult moment for the delta variant-affected region. A slew of dismal Chinese economic data released on Monday, on top of another port closure in the country last week due to a positive virus test, adding to signs that Asia’s trading powerhouses may be losing one of their vital lifelines.
Source: Yahoo News