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A view of the Causeway linking Singapore and Johor Baru in Malaysia. — TODAY pic
A view of the Causeway linking Singapore and Johor Baru in Malaysia. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Nov 21 — Singapore is optimistic that a vaccinated travel lane (VTL) with Malaysia’s land border will be launched by the end of November, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong said yesterday.

It could happen close to the launch of the travel lane for flights between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport, which starts on Nov 29, he added.

“It is also possible that we may be able to do so on the same day,” Mr Gan said, adding that details are still being worked out.

He was responding to a question during a press conference by the national Covid-19 task force, on news reports quoting Johor’s chief minister Hasni Mohammad as saying that the land border with Singapore may reopen on Nov 29, and on how the Singapore Government intends to manage this “potentially large influx of travellers”.

“We hope to be able to share the plans sometime next week so that there’s time for Singaporeans who want to make the trip to make the necessary arrangements,” Mr Gan said.

“We will start with a smaller number, with a certain limited quota. We are not likely to go back to the pre-Covid-19 days where you have hundreds of thousands of people travelling (in) both directions every day.”

The priority would be to allow families who have been separated since the start of the pandemic last year to reunite, he added.

“Subsequently, we can think about expanding the scope to allow more people to travel.”

Mr Gan also said that Singapore and Malaysia are working out the operational details to ensure that the travel lane for vaccinated people via land borders can be done in a safe manner, adding that the Singapore Government has been “working very thoroughly and with multiple agencies”.

During the same press conference, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung noted that the seven-day moving average infection rate in Johor Baru is lower than that of Singapore’s.

Singapore’s is slightly under 40 per 100,000 population, while Johor Baru’s is about 13 to 14. — TODAY


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