Come September, Singapore is planning to allow quarantine-free travel to the country. Soon, fully COVID-19 vaccinated individuals will not be subject to mandatory quarantine upon entry. The bustling city-state is also aiming to reduce its COVID-19 restrictions in a plan that is called Singapore’s ‘New Normal.’
Singapore is confident of its step to open the borders as it excepts 80 percent of its population to be fully vaccinated by the time the reopening comes around. Finance Minister Lawrence Wong told the Singaporean Parliament that the city will promote travel with countries that have successfully managed the COVID-19 situation in a bid to establish its position as a hub for travel, business and talent.
However, even as the reopening plans were being laid out, Singapore reintroduced restrictions on July 22 amid a spike of new COVID-19 cases. But the country has also managed to reach one of the highest vaccination levels in the world. Seventy-five percent of Singapore’s population has already received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, much ahead of the target of inoculating 66 percent of the adult population with one dose by August 9.
"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," Wong said, explaining the restrictions that were re-imposed last week." 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."
Singapore plans to move from considering the virus as a pandemic, to one that is endemic and seasonal, much like influenza. But plans to open up the city will only progress in a phased manner.
"At each stage of easing we will monitor the health outcomes, especially the hospitalisation and intensive care unit cases closely," Wong said.
"We will ensure that these remain acceptable and stable, before we proceed to the next step. But if hospitalisation cases -- or worse, severe illnesses -- were to shoot up, we will have to be prepared to slow down, or even pull back,” he added.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)