Has the time finally come for Singaporeans to travel out safely?
Finance Minister and co-chair of the Multi-Ministry COVID-19 task force Lawrence Wong teased today that Singapore could ease travel restrictions from September to allow traveling with a shortened quarantine period for fully vaccinated individuals.
“We will also begin to reopen our borders, especially for vaccinated persons to travel,” he said. “We will start by establishing travel corridors with countries or regions that have managed COVID-19 well and where the infection is similarly under control so fully vaccinated persons will then be able to travel to these countries or regions without needing to serve the full 14-day stay home notice in the hotel when they return.”
For those fully vaccinated, the 14-day quarantine period when they return to Singapore could be reduced to seven days or replaced with a rigorous testing regime depending on the infection numbers of the destination country, Wong added. Those who were not vaccinated might still travel, provided that they serve the full two-week quarantine.
Wong said that this could be the new reality when at least 80% of the population complete vaccination by September. The task force also plans to review existing restrictions and ease some of them, including allowing larger gatherings, for vaccinated persons.
The privileges are given to those vaccinated as they are “much better protected against the effects of the virus,” Wong said. Even then, infection numbers could increase but Singaporeans should not pay too much attention to the figures.
“Also as we open our borders for people to travel without [Stay at Home Notice] we will see more imported cases and infected persons slipping through from time to time. Our main focus will no longer be on daily case numbers, because the vast majority by then would have been vaccinated and even if they catch the virus they are less likely to become very ill,” Wong said, echoing Ong’s speech earlier today.
Singaporeans are currently banned from dining in at eateries and can only gather in pairs. The measures were reimposed after an outbreak at the Jurong Fishery Port and several other food centers and markets linked to it.
By next month, two thirds of the population with three quarters of seniors aged 70 and above would have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Singapore today reported 129 new COVID-19 cases mainly linked to the latest outbreak center Jurong Fishery Port. This brings Singapore’s total tally to 64,314 cases and 37 deaths.
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This article, Traveling on the cards for Singaporeans, especially if you’re vaccinated, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.