Parliament: New requirements for visitors to Singapore being planned to replace SHN, says Ong Ye Kung

Such measures could include stringent and repeated testing protocol for visitors here and close tracking of their movements. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - To encourage visitors to Singapore while protecting the country against Covid-19, new requirements for travellers are being planned so that they will not have to go through a two-week stay-home (SHN) period.

Such measures could include stringent and repeated testing protocol for visitors here, close tracking of their movements and separating them from the rest of the community, said Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung on Tuesday (Oct 6) in Parliament

In a ministerial statement on aviation recovery, he said Singapore's status as an aviation hub and its superior air connectivity is essential to its economy.

He acknowledged the current SHN rule is a deterrent to potential travellers, but assured the House that the Government is exploring ways to facilitate their arrival while managing the risk of virus infection.

This is especially important for travellers from countries that are economically important to Singapore but have higher infection rates, said the minister.

It would also benefit people who need to come here for purposes like reuniting with a long-separated partner or on compassionate grounds.

"The message we want to send to the world is this - Singapore has started to reopen its borders. In the near future, if you have the virus under control and infection rates are as low as Singapore's, you are welcome to visit us, but travellers will be subject to a Covid-19 test, as a precaution," said Mr Ong.

"If you are from a place where infection rates are higher than Singapore, you can also visit us, so long as you agree to conditions such as testing, segregation and contact tracing."

Air travel will resume when there is a widely available and effective vaccine, but in the meantime, people in Singapore have to learn to live with Covid-19 and take sensible precautions, he said.

Remote video URL

Just as Singapore opened up the community and social life step-by-step after the end of circuit breaker in June, it will adopt the same approach in the opening up of country's international borders, the minister added.

"What is at stake is not just hundreds of thousands of jobs, but our status as an air hub, Singapore's relevance to the world, our economic survival, and in turn, the ability to determine our own future," Mr Ong said.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.