A hopeful signal was sent this week when Changi Airport's Terminals 1 and 3 opened their doors to the public for the first time in more than 100 days, ahead of the start of eased border measures for vaccinated travellers. More than 80 per cent of the stores at the two terminals resumed operations on Wednesday, with the rest expected to reopen soon, putting an end to closures which had been prompted by a Covid-19 cluster in May. The reopening of the terminals underlined that Singapore aims to press on with its strategy of returning as many areas of public life as possible to normal while observing the stringent health and safety protocols necessary to prevent the emergence of large clusters of coronavirus infection.
Extensive precautions are in place, such as segregating dining areas in Basement 2 of Terminal 3 to stem interaction between airport staff and the public during mealtimes. Also, the public are not allowed in the arrival hall so as to avoid direct contact with arriving passengers. What the relaxation at Changi does is to infuse life into the commercial parts of the two terminals. That will tie in increasingly with the expected increase in the number of travellers as Singapore moves to open its borders gradually and revive its status as an air hub. Certainly, there could be public concerns over the possibility of another infectious cluster breaking out. But Singapore's good vaccination rates have added impetus to the health gains made from the public's greater alertness to mask-wearing, social distancing and other safe management measures, so as to reduce the possibility of large and debilitating outbreaks.