Coronavirus: Easing of curbs

Singapore lifts restrictions on visitors from Australia, Vietnam

Like those from New Zealand and Brunei, they will be allowed entry for leisure travel

Australia (excluding Victoria state) and Vietnam join two other countries that Singapore has unilaterally opened its borders to.
Australia (excluding Victoria state) and Vietnam join two other countries that Singapore has unilaterally opened its borders to.PHOTOS: ST FILE, AFP

Singapore will unilaterally lift border restrictions to visitors from Australia - excluding Victoria state - and Vietnam from Oct 8.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said yesterday both countries have comprehensive public health surveillance systems and have successfully controlled the spread of Covid-19.

"The risk of importation from these countries is low," it said, noting that over the last 28 days, Vietnam had zero local Covid-19 cases while Australia (excluding Victoria state) had a low virus incidence rate of 0.02 cases per 100,000 people.

They join New Zealand and Brunei as the four countries Singapore has unilaterally opened its borders to, as the country seeks to revive its airport and tourism sector.

Visitors from Australia and Vietnam can apply for the Air Travel Pass for entry into Singapore from 12pm today. The earliest day they will be able to enter is Oct 8.

The Air Travel Pass scheme allows for all forms of short-term travel, including leisure travel. This is in contrast to reciprocal green lane arrangements, which are usually for essential business and official travel. Visitors will have to take a swab test upon arrival, and can go about their activities after they get a negative test result. They will have to use the TraceTogether app while they are here, among other conditions.

CAAS also said that Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders returning from Australia (excluding Victoria state) and Vietnam will be able to take a Covid-19 test upon arrival. This will replace the requirement of a seven-day stay-home notice with a test before the end of the notice.

Since restrictions on visitors from Brunei and New Zealand were lifted on Sept 8, CAAS has approved 331 applications from such travellers. As at 5pm yesterday, 136 visitors have arrived. None of them tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said he has spoken to Mr Michael McCormack, Australia's Deputy Prime Minister, and Mrs Tao Thi Than Huong, Vietnam's Ambassador to Singapore, about the move.

 
 
 

"They were appreciative of Singapore's decision, and when conditions are right, I believe they will consider reciprocating the lifting of restrictions to travellers from Singapore," he said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2020, with the headline 'Singapore lifts restrictions on visitors from Australia, Vietnam'. Print Edition | Subscribe