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Singapore to allow quarantine-free travel for travellers from 11 countries

Travellers will need to undergo an RTPCR test 48 hours before departure.

travel-business Representative image | Shutterstock

Singapore, from October 19, will open its borders to 11 countries for quarantine-free travel. The city-state, in a bid to reach the ‘new normal', to live with COVID-19, hopes to rebuild its status as an international aviation hub. Fully vaccinated people from 11countries, including Britain, France, Spain and the United States, will be able to enter the island without quarantining if they test negative for COVID-19, the government said. vaccinated travellers from South Korea will also be allowed to enter the country from November 15. 

The Southeast Asian nation, which serves as the Asian headquarters of several global companies, furthers Singapore’s strategy to resume international links. To avail of Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme, travellers from these 11 nations would need to fly to Singapore in a VTL-designated flight flown by Singapore Airlines or Lufthansa.

Travellers will need to undergo an RTPCR test 48 hours before departure.

83 per cent of the country’s 5.45 million population have been vaccinated. Yet, the city-state, in the past few days have been reporting over 3,000 cases of the coronavirus. 

 "It will take us at least three months, and perhaps as long as six months, to get there," Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Reuters. Last year, the nation largely kept the virus at bay with masks, contact tracing and a closed border.

 "After this surge stabilises, we may still see future surges, especially if new variants emerge. We may have to tap on the brakes again if cases again grow too fast, to protect our healthcare system and healthcare workers," Hsein Loong said. 

Rules will be stringier for unvaccinated citizens—they will be barred from entering malls and eating at the country's ubiquitous hawker centres. 

Singapore started accepting vaccinated travellers from Germany and Brunei in September. 

 "We hope this further easing of measures and expansion of Singapore's border reopening will spur other markets to similarly navigate their pathways towards restarting air travel," said Philip Goh, Asia-Pacific vice president for the International Air Transport Association told Reuters.

 Singapore Airlines said that it will expand its vaccinated travel lane networks to 14 cities.

 Singapore's Changi airport was among the world's busiest in 2019 before travel crashed last year due to the pandemic.

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