Coronavirus: Singapore's traveller restrictions under constant review

The departure hall of Changi Airport Terminal 2 is seen on April 30, 2020.
The departure hall of Changi Airport Terminal 2 is seen on April 30, 2020.PHOTO: ST FILE

Just as Singapore is constantly looking at whether there is a need to adjust its circuit breaker measures, it is also continuously reviewing its import controls to see if they can be updated over time, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said yesterday.

These import controls are in relation to various countries that may have got the virus outbreak under control in their environments, he told a virtual press conference.

The minister was responding to a question on why Singapore has chosen to work with Australia, Canada, South Korea and New Zealand to facilitate the opening of cross-border essential travel, and whether other countries will be added to the list.

Said Mr Wong: "On the import control side, when we look at the situation in other countries, if the virus situation is well under control in some of these countries, then we may very well work with them bilaterally or to get together as a coalition with some of these countries to see if some travel can be done in a safe and sustainable manner."

He noted that the situation is fluid and constantly evolving, and "you can never assume that the fight is over because it is a continuous process".

"You never know, today the situation seems under control, tomorrow a new cluster may break out. So we are in this constant flux."

The discussions on import control measures are similar to those on progressively relaxing the current circuit breaker measures "if conditions permit", he added.

"(This means) if our community cases continue to come down, and we are confident that local transmission is under control, we are prepared to lift and relax some of the circuit breaker measures."

Mr Wong had said previously that if the rates of infection in China continue to fall, Singapore could consider lifting travel restrictions for tourists from some cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai.

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi had discussed how safe international travel can be reinstituted in the near future.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2020, with the headline 'S'pore's traveller restrictions under constant review'. Subscribe