Singapore-South Korea to Open Vaccinated Travel Lane on Nov. 15
(Bloomberg) -- Singapore and South Korea will open a travel corridor on Nov. 15 to allow quarantine-free visits for people who’ve been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
There will be no restrictions on the reason for travel or requirements for a controlled itinerary or sponsorship, Singapore’s Ministry of Transport said in a statement Friday.
“Both Singapore and the Republic of Korea have made excellent progress in vaccinating our populations and the VTLs reflect the trust both countries have in each other’s ability to manage the Covid-19 situation,” Singapore Transport Minister S. Iswaran said in the statement, referring to so-called vaccinated travel lanes.
Singapore opened corridors with Germany and Brunei in September and already allows quarantine-free travel from China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, but most of those places haven’t reciprocated for people traveling from Singapore.
With 83% of its population fully inoculated, Singapore has been taking steps to reopen after shifting its strategy to treating Covid as endemic. The government this week cut quarantine time for arrivals from countries including the U.S., France and the U.K., but stopped short of lifting isolation requirements completely.
About 56% of South Korea’s population has been fully vaccinated, The country may reach its goal of fully inoculating 70% of its population by the week of Oct. 25 and then begin easing rules for a “gradual return to normal life” next month, the Asia Business Daily reported Thursday.
Singapore Trade Minister Gan Kim Yong said Monday that Singapore was discussing travel lanes with several countries and regions, including the U.S. and Europe. American officials have been pushing for an agreement to give outbound travelers more freedom to enter the city-state, according to people familiar with the matter.
Singapore recorded more than 3,000 new Covid-19 cases for three straight days this week and the number of seriously ill patients has climbed, though the vast majority of infections have no or mild symptoms.
The government is eager to restore travel given the importance of aviation and tourism to the economy. Passenger traffic at Changi Airport, a key international hub for travel and cargo, was just 2% of pre-Covid levels in the first eight months of this year, while Singapore Airlines Ltd.’s passenger numbers are a tiny fraction of what they were in 2019.
Changi Airport posted its first annual net loss in the year through March because of the pandemic and flag-carrier Singapore Airlines has suffered hefty losses.
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