Singapore will open “paved travel corridors” with more countries – but that doesn’t mean the country is taking much greater risks, Transport Minister Eswaran told CNBC on Monday.
The city state announced this past week More lanes are entered For travelers who have already been vaccinated South KoreaCanada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, in addition to similar agreements with Germany and Brunei which started in September.
The initiative allows vaccinated people to travel without being quarantined, but travelers will have to take Covid-19 tests to ensure they do not have the virus before entering the country.
He added that Singapore would then consider similar travel arrangements with Australia, New Zealand, Japan and “several other countries” in the region.
Eswaran, who is also in charge of Singapore’s trade relations, said the country’s current initiative with Germany and Brunei includes only two cases of infected travelers – out of 3,000 people who entered Singapore via so-called VTLs in the first month. .
“So when you combine that with vaccination regimes, the corridors of vaccination travel and the cross-border flows that we allow don’t add significantly to the risk we take as a country,” he told Squawk. From CNBC Box Asia.
Eswaran responded to some online reviews that the city-state’s plans to reopen international travel appeared to contradict its decision. impose some new restrictions inside the state.
Singapore said on Saturday that it will tighten some Covid restrictions to protect those who need protection such as the elderly and the unvaccinated. Those who have not been vaccinated are prohibited from shopping malls, and those who have been vaccinated are prohibited from entering two people into shopping centers.
The minister noted that the VTLs showed that only a limited number of infected cases entered the country, but that infections in the community rose faster – with a “large proportion” spreading through community activities.
Based on the “risk assessment”, Eswaran said there is a need to limit some of these activities while continuing general economic activity “where possible” while imposing some “important restrictions”.
By October 9, 83% of the population had completed two doses of the Covid vaccine.
However, the number of cases started to rise after some restrictions were eased, and reached a daily record high of more than 3,000 cases last week.
Last month the Singapore authorities did Tightening of Covid measures Again in an effort to reduce transmission in the community and prevent hospitals from participating. The country has also started encouraging people with Covid who are showing mild symptoms to self-isolate if possible.
Eswaran said the introduction of upgraded travel corridors is part of an effort to restore the city’s status as an international air hub.
Before the pandemic, Singapore’s Changi Airport was one of the busiest in the world In 2019, 68.3 million passengers were handled. However, this fell by more than 80% to just 11.8 million passengers in 2020. According to local media.
“What we’re trying to do in dusty travel corridors with countries in North America, Europe and Asia is to make sure we find ways to safely open up international aviation and restore Singapore’s position and rebuild it as an international aviation hub.”
News of the conditional travel corridor program expansion sent aviation-related stocks higher on Monday morning. Singapore Airlines It rose 7.8% while a tool – which provides ground handling and catering services on board – gained 5.04%.
The total number of infections reached 126,966 on Sunday, with 162 deaths. However, 98.5% of those infected in the past 28 days had no or mild symptoms, according to the country’s Ministry of Health.
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