Singapore lifts pre-departure travel requirements and further simplifies mask rules

People gather outside the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on January 17, 2023. (Photo by Roslan Rahman/AFP)

Roslan Rahman | Afp | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Singapore intends to allow under-vaccinated travelers to enter the country without a negative test before leaving from next week, health authorities announced Thursday.

The health ministry said the country intends to abolish the wearing of masks on public transport from Monday as it aims to get out of the “acute phase” of the pandemic.

The country’s Covid Task Force, established in January 2020, will be deactivated.

“Our Covid situation has remained stable in recent months despite an increase in travel throughout the year and holidays, and China’s transition from zero Covid,” said Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong of Singapore, who also co-chairs the Covid task force.

“Our population has developed a high level of hybrid immunity. The risk of infections leading to severe illness or death is very low – comparable to other endemic respiratory diseases such as the flu.”

The further relaxation of travel and mask requirements before departure is a “significant step” making Covid-19 endemic and the “new normal” for Singapore.

Travel Changes

All travelers entering Singapore by air or sea must still submit a health declaration before or upon arrival, the ministry said.

In addition to eliminating the need to present proof of a negative test before departure, short-term visitors will also not be required to purchase Covid travel insurance.

Previously incompletely vaccinated visitors were required to test negative for Covid within 2 days prior to their departure for Singapore.

While travelers who are not fully vaccinated can now enter Singapore without pre-departure tests, vaccinated lanes will remain “to be reactivated” if there are international developments of concern, such as new options, authorities said.

Singapore opened vaccinated lanes in April 2022 to facilitate the safe resumption of international travel.

After shutting down large parts of the city-state and tightening travel and food restrictions early in the pandemic in 2020, Singapore began removal of most Covid restrictions in April.

Further Covid measures were relaxed at the end of August as authorities lifted indoor mask requirements and allowed under-vaccinated travelers to skip quarantine on arrival.

Mask rules are being relaxed

Wearing masks on public transport and in healthcare facilities will no longer be mandatory, but Wong urged the public to continue wearing masks if they show any symptoms.

However, masks are still required in places such as hospital rooms, clinics and nursing homes where “patient interactions” take place and “inside patient-facing spaces,” the health ministry said.

“This is done in order to better protect patients and healthcare workers from infectious diseases in general,” the department added.

The Ministry of Health said private businesses may also decide to retain mask-wearing requirements as part of company health and safety workplace policy or “for business continuity reasons.”

Return to pre-pandemic levels

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button