General travel to Brunei and New Zealand will be allowed from Sept 1, but travellers should not simply hop on a plane to these destinations, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said yesterday.
"Please check what are the requirements of the destination countries and make sure you comply with the requirements before you fly over," Mr Gan said during a virtual press conference.
Travellers should also exercise vigilance, and continue to observe the safe distancing rules in those countries to protect themselves and others, he added.
With general travel now allowed to these two countries, travellers will be eligible for government subsidies and insurance coverage for treatment in Singapore if they end up being infected with Covid-19, said Education Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19.
The task force, which Mr Gan also co-chairs, also announced yesterday that border restrictions will be eased for visitors from both these nations coming to Singapore.
Travellers who have remained in Brunei or New Zealand for the past consecutive 14 days prior to their visit to Singapore will not have to serve a stay-home notice when they arrive here.
Instead, they will undergo a Covid-19 test upon arrival at the airport, and will be allowed to go about their activities in Singapore only after receiving a negative test result, the task force said.
They will also need to apply for an Air Travel Pass - applications for which will start on Sept 1 - between seven and 30 days before their intended date of arrival here.
They will also be responsible for their medical bills should they require medical treatment for Covid-19 while in Singapore.
Meanwhile, students studying overseas at institutions which do not offer distance learning as an option will also be allowed to travel from Sept 1.
Mr Wong said: "Many foreign education institutions are resuming their terms quite soon, and we know that there are students based in Singapore who are full-time students and who have to go back to school in these various institutions."
These students will be eligible for government subsidies and insurance coverage if they test positive for Covid-19 and get treated in Singapore.
Mr Wong noted that other than Brunei and New Zealand, there are other low-risk countries and regions, and that visitors from these areas may not need to serve a stay-home notice.
"But out of abundance of caution, we will keep the requirement for now," he said.
Three categories of travellers
TRAVELLERS WHO DO NOT HAVE TO SERVE A STAY-HOME NOTICE
Travellers who remained in Brunei and New Zealand in the last consecutive 14 days prior to arrival in Singapore will not be required to serve a stay-home notice (SHN). They will undergo a Covid-19 test upon arrival at the airport.
They must apply for an Air Travel Pass between seven and 30 days before their intended date of entry into Singapore. Applications open on Sept 1.
TRAVELLERS WHO CAN SERVE A SHORTER STAY-HOME NOTICE OF SEVEN DAYS
Singaporeans and permanent residents returning from Australia (excluding Victoria state), Macau, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia can serve their stay-home notice at their place of residence.
Long-term pass holders may also do so if they or their family members own or are sole tenants of the residence, or serve out the SHN in suitable accommodation such as a hotel.
Travellers will be tested for Covid-19 before the end of their stay-home notice.
TRAVELLERS WHO MUST SERVE THE USUAL 14-DAY PERIOD AT A DEDICATED FACILITY
Travellers from all other places will be subject to a test before the end of their stay-home notice. Travel conditions under specific travel arrangements, such as bilateral schemes with China and Malaysia, will continue to apply.
However, the stay-home notice period for travellers from low-risk places such as Australia (excluding Victoria state), Macau, mainland China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia will be shortened from the current 14 days to seven days, which can be served at their place of residence or hotels instead of dedicated facilities from Sept 1.
Visitors will be tested for Covid-19 before the end of their stay-home notice.
With yesterday's announcements, there will now be three categories of travellers in Singapore, said Mr Wong: Travellers who do not have to serve a stay-home notice; travellers who can serve a shorter stay-home notice at their own place of residence; and finally, visitors who must serve the usual 14-day period at a dedicated facility.
"The countries in the different categories will continue to be updated over time... We continue to assess the situation, and we will update the list over time," he said.