Travellers From China & Australia’s Victoria State Arrive In Singapore On 6 Nov As Borders Unilaterally Open

As Singapore gains better control over the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve been easing travel restrictions on countries that have similarly gained control of their outbreaks.

From last Friday (6 Nov), Singapore allowed travellers from China and Australia’s Victoria state to enter without quarantine.

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22 of them have now arrived on our shores, and all tested negative for the virus.

Chinese travellers had to take Covid-19 test

The 22 Chinese travellers arrived last Friday (6 Nov), the 1st day of Singapore’s easing of measures, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) was quoted by The Straits Times (ST) as saying.

As per the conditions of avoiding being put on Stay-Home Notice (SHN), they had to take a Covid-19 test upon arrival.

Thankfully, all 22 of them tested negative. They are now allowed to go about their activities in Singapore without restrictions.

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On Friday (6 Nov), travellers from Australia’s Victoria state were also allowed to enter Singapore.

However, it is unclear how many travellers arrived from there, since they’re not required to report what state they came from.

Potential arrivals must apply for Air Travel Pass

Besides taking a Covid-19 test, travellers from selected areas who wish to enter Singapore have to apply for an Air Travel Pass (ATP).

That also includes Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders returning to Singapore.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung inspects the swab test for ATP travellers.
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ATP applications opened on 1 Sep, and since then, 2,613 requests to enter Singapore from Brunei, New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam, and China have been approved.

Of these, 811 arrived in Singapore up till last Friday (6 Nov).

The highest number of ATP arrivals were from Vietnam, with 336 travellers. 232 others were from Brunei, 115 from New Zealand, 106 from Australia and 22 from China.

1,465 of the approved requests haven’t travelled yet, while 337 more might have changed their minds or failed to secure flights — their applications have expired, reported ST.

Border opening is unilateral

China and Australia’s Victoria state were the latest to be added to the list of countries that Singapore has unilaterally opened their borders to.

That’s due to their effective public health surveillance systems and successful control of the spread of Covid-19, said in a media release on 29 Oct.

Hence, the risk of importation from these places is low.

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CAAS also pointed to statistics showing that China has a virus local incidence rate of 0.00009 per 100,000 people over the 28 days prior to 29 Oct.

Australia’s Victoria state has a virus local incidence rate of 0.099 per 100,000 people in the same period.

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In Aug, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce handling the pandemic in Singapore announced a similar unilateral lifting of border restrictions for travellers from New Zealand and Brunei.

In Sep, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung added travellers from Vietnam and Australia to that list, except for those coming from Australia’s Victoria state, which at the time was still undergoing a resurgence in Covid-19 cases.

More easing of travel restrictions on the horizon

Currently, Singapore also has opened green lanes for official travel with Japan, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Germany.

The long-anticipated travel bubble with Hong Kong is also underway.

As travel restrictions ease, perhaps our days of jet setting to holiday destinations will soon be on the horizon.

In the meantime, do continue to act responsibly by adhering to safe-distancing measures.

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Featured image adapted from BBC and Lianhe Zaobao.