Singapore is making steps in the right direction and is planning to offer quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated travelers from as early as September. The news serves as one of the few times that the tiny city-state has put a timeline of the easing of its restrictions and the reopening of its borders.
At just 728.6 square kilometers and with a population of 5.7 million, Singapore might be a small country but it is a major travel hub in Southeast Asia, as well as a major player in the world’s exports industry. Here’s everything we know about this story so far, plus a look at the country’s Covid-19 and vaccination situation.
Covid-19 In Singapore – Information For Travelers
With such a dense population living more often than not on top of one another, Covid-19 had all the opportunities to spread through the country like wildfire. However, due to the way the government has managed it, the number of cases has remained low. Singapore’s record high showed 1,426 back in April of last year, but that figure itself is an anomaly. Whilst the country is experiencing a spike of sorts, the 7-day average of new cases remains only 158.
The country is also making rapid progress in vaccinating its population. Since beginning on the 11th of January, the country has gone on to fully vaccinate just short of 3 million people, which is about 52% of its total population. Around 4.2 million have received at least one shot of the vaccine, which makes us 74% of the population of Singapore. With such impressive statistics, the country is looking towards the future, and towards reopening.
Open In September? What Travelers Should Know
Located in close proximity to Kuala Lumpur and just a short hop from Bangkok, Singapore is a destination that finds itself more often than not on the itineraries of any would-be travelers of Southeast Asia. In 2019, more than 19 million travelers flocked to the city-state to take in such sights as the Marina Bay Sands, Supertree Grove and Universal Studios. With its borders closed for more than a year, Singapore hasn’t really been on anyone’s travel radar this year – but it could be soon.
Speaking in Parliament today, Singapore’s finance minister Lawrence Wong outlined his nation’s plans for the future, with vaccination the key to the relaxation of any restrictions or border policies. Wong said:
“While other countries may have come to terms with a certain level of Covid-19 cases and even deaths, this is not the choice we want to make in Singapore. At the same time, there is no need to wait for everyone to be vaccinated before we begin to open up. That would mean holding back the entire reopening timeline until much later in the year, which is not tenable.”
Wong went on, explaining that the loosening of any restrictions will only be offered to vaccinated individuals, who are “much better protected against the effects of the virus”. Wong explained that the relaxation of their strict border policies would likely come in September, when 80% of the population are expected to be vaccinated, and that vaccinated and tested travelers would be able to enter without needing to serve the 14-day stay home notice in a hotel. Unvaccinated travelers will have to adhere to the existing travel requirements, under which vacation travel for Americans and Europeans is not currently possible.
Wong also stated that Singapore would first try to establish travel corridors with countries that have managed Covid-19 effectively. A planned travel bubble between Australia and Singapore was delayed until December last week, whilst the collapse of the Australia-New Zealand travel bubbles means Singapore may have to look elsewhere for a travel corridor.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com