Singapore and Germany have agreed a “green lane” allowing travel for business or official reasons in the latest step by governments to reopen borders in the wake of the pandemic.
Residents of both countries will have to follow virus prevention and public health measures. Operational details, including health protocols and application processes, are yet to be announced.
The agreement could serve as a model for future ones between Singapore and other countries in Europe.
With coronavirus cases easing in Singapore, it has been working on reestablishing travel links to help reboot its economy and aviation industry.
Earlier this month Singapore and Hong Kong announced plans to reopen their borders to each another for the first time in almost seven months, but no firm date has been set yet.
That arrangement, which includes leisure travel, could start with one daily flight between the two Asian financial hubs.
Singapore’s arrangement with Germany comes despite big jumps in infections in Europe’s biggest economy, with health officials warning the virus could spiral out of control there.
Germany registered 12,331 cases in the 24 hours to Thursday morning - the first time daily infections exceeded 10,000. That daily figure is more than twice the number of infections Hong Kong has reported in total.
Singapore has curbed the spread of Covid, with new daily infections hovering near zero, and is considering loosening curbs on social distancing.
Communications minister S. Iswaran said “staying open and connected” would be crucial for economic success post-pandemic.
Bilateral travel agreements have proved difficult to establish because of virus flare-ups and strict quarantine requirements are putting people off travel.
A survey of travellers by the International Air Transport Association found that 83pc were unwilling to travel if it involved a 14-day quarantine period, with passengers from many countries subject to such measures in the UK.
Singapore’s transport minister Ong Ye Kung said effective virus testing was key to replacing quarantine and reviving travel.
The city-state has formed green lanes for business and official travel with Asian countries including Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia and Brunei, but none as far afield as Germany.