S’pore To Open Borders To Visitors From China & Australia’s Victoria State

As Singapore tries to revive our aviation and tourism industry, the authorities have been progressively allowing travellers from countries deemed to be low-risk to enter.

In March, even before the ‘Circuit Breaker’, it was mentioned that Singapore will consider letting in visitors from China if the situation stabilises.

Well, our situation has now stabilised, and accordingly travellers from mainland China will now be able to enter Singapore from 6 Nov, as well as those from Australia’s Victoria state.

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China & Victoria state arrivals will be swabbed

All travellers from China and Australia’s Victoria state will be swabbed for Covid-19 when they arrive in Changi Airport, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) in a media release on Thursday (29 Oct).

If they return a negative test, they’ll be free to roam around Singapore without having to serve a Stay-Home Notice (SHN).

Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders who’re returning from China and Victoria state will also have to abide by the same rules, CAAS said.

Potential arrivals must apply for Air Travel Pass

Those from China and Victoria state who want to enter Singapore must apply for an Air Travel Pass.

It can be applied from 12pm on Friday (30 Oct).

If approved, they will be able to enter from 6 Nov, midnight.

To apply, however, potential arrivals must have been in China or Australia for 14 days before entering Singapore.

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Arrivals must be isolated till test result is out

CAAS also outlined the precautions that will be taken to safeguard public health in Singapore.

  1. The visitors must take a Covid-19 swab test upon arrival at Changi.
  2. They must take private transport, taxi or private-hire car to their accommodation, and remain isolated there until their test result comes back negative.
  3. They will be checked on to make sure they follow these rules.
  4. They must download and register the TraceTogether app on their phones and keep it activated while in Singapore and for 14 days after leaving.
  5. They must foot all their medical bills related to Covid-19 in Singapore, including tests and treatment.

Risk of importation from China & Victoria state is low: CAAS

CAAS said it’s allowing these groups of travellers to enter Singapore as the risk of importation from these places is low.

It added that they “have comprehensive public health surveillance systems and displayed successful control over the spread of the Covid-19 virus”.

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

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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602 visitors from earlier restriction liftings

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.

So far, Singapore has received 602 visitors from these 4 countries, out of 1,375 applications approved, CAAS said.

None of them have tested positive for Covid-19, it added.

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Risk profile similar to S’pore

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung, in a Facebook post on Thursday (29 Oct) on the move, also emphasised that the countries allowed have “low Covid-19 incidence rates”.

Their risk profiles are also similar to Singapore’s, he added.

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He said the opening of borders to these countries, as well as the upcoming travel bubble with Hong Kong, are “important moves” to prepare Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines to thrive again when global travel reopens.

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Hope some countries will reciprocate

While it’s good news for our economy that we’re heading closer to some semblance of normality with regards to letting foreigners come in, Singaporeans will hope that some of these countries also let us enter as well.

Singaporeans wary over the continued importation of new cases, and frustrated at the safe distancing measures we’re still enduring, may also wonder when our lives can get back to normal.

Let’s hope that the welcoming of people into Singapore will similarly translate into the same courtesy given to Singaporeans by other countries.

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Featured image adapted from Facebook.