General travel, including leisure, to New Zealand and Brunei, will soon be allowed for Singaporeans, as the city-state’s multi-ministerial Covid-19 task force relaxes border restrictions from September 1.
At the same time, travellers entering Singapore from either Brunei or New Zealand will not need to serve a stay-home notice upon arrival, provided they had remained in the country two weeks prior to their trip and were able to secure an air travel pass between seven and 30 days ahead of their intended date of entry into Singapore. They will also need to clear a Covid-19 test upon arrival at Singapore Changi Airport.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health said in a release that travellers needing Covid-19 treatment while in Singapore would have to bear their medical bills.
Stay-home notice for travellers coming in from low-risk countries and regions, such as Australia (excluding the state of Victoria), China, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam, will also be cut from two weeks to one. A Covid-19 test will be conducted towards the end of the stay-home notice.
The latest announcement represents a further easing of border restrictions set up since the Covid-19 outbreak to curb cross-border transmissions.
Education minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the task force, said on Friday that Singapore remains cautious with her reopening strategy, and decisions will be based on “evidence and our risk assessment in these different countries”.
Wong also noted that while outbound restrictions have been relaxed on Singapore’s part, Singaporeans looking to head to Brunei and New Zealand for leisure would need clearance from the two countries.
He shared that Singapore is in talks with Brunei and New Zealand to work out reciprocal arrangements for travellers.
Gregg Wafelbakker, general manager, Asia, Tourism New Zealand, told TTG Asia earlier this month that New Zealand tourism officials were exploring options for safe travel zones with the Singapore government.
Following the multi-ministerial Covid-19 task force’s decision, Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group issued a statement to express support. It noted that the “recovery of air travel and airfreight is a necessary catalyst for the recovery of global trade and economies severely impacted by Covid-19”.
“Today’s announcement is an important step towards the gradual rebuilding of the Singapore air hub. The SIA Group will continue to work closely with the Singapore government and all stakeholders to support this,” the statement noted.
SIA Group emphasised that health and safety for all its stakeholders remain a priority. To that end, in-flight product offerings and end-to-end service delivery have been modified to take in health and safety measures.
“The SIA Group will continue to closely monitor the demand for international air travel, and be nimble and flexible in adjusting our capacity to match this,” it added.