Singapore plans first quarantine-free travel program

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FILE - In this May 19, 2021, file photo, commuters wear face masks and practice social distancing to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus while onboard a subway in Singapore. Singapore announced Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, that it is launching a travel bubble with Brunei and Germany from Sep. 8, Singapore government also says travel bubble with Hong Kong is off permanently as can't launch in a sustainable way. (AP Photo/Zen Soo, File)

SINGAPORE (AP) — Singapore will launch its first quarantine-free travel program for vaccinated people arriving from Germany and Brunei, and ease restrictions for visitors from Hong Kong and Macao as it seeks to reopen its borders after fully vaccinating over 75% of its population, the government said Thursday.

“As the global COVID-19 situation evolves, we will continue to adjust our border measures with the appropriate safeguards to ensure public health and safety,” the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said.

Previously, only Singapore residents and those with employment or student passes were allowed to enter the country.

From Sept. 8, visitors from Germany and Brunei can apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass to enter Singapore, regardless of their reason for traveling. They must take multiple coronavirus tests, including pre-departure, on arrival, and post-arrival, in lieu of a quarantine.

Travelers must also have stayed in their country of departure, either Germany or Brunei, or in Singapore before that, for at least 21 consecutive days before departing for Singapore. Other requirements include insurance that covers COVID-19 medical treatment.

Separately, tourists from Hong Kong and Macao who have spent three consecutive weeks in those cities can apply to enter Singapore from Aug. 26. They also will not need to quarantine if they test negative on arrival and isolate themselves until the test results are available.

However, transport minister S. Iswaran said there are no more plans to establish a Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble. The planned air travel bubble had earlier been aborted twice because of spikes in virus cases.

While Singapore is easing travel restrictions, Hong Kong has taken a different approach and will tighten entry restrictions from Friday, raising quarantine periods for vaccinated travelers with a positive antibody test from medium-risk countries to 14 days.

Previously, travelers from medium-risk countries such as Singapore and Canada needed to quarantine for only seven days in Hong Kong if they were fully vaccinated and tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.

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