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Singapore to unilaterally lift border restrictions for visitors from Australia and Vietnam from Oct 8

[SINGAPORE] Singapore will unilaterally lift border restrictions to visitors from Australia - excluding Victoria state - and Vietnam from Oct 8.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said on Wednesday (Sept 30) that these two countries both have comprehensive public health surveillance systems and have successfully controlled the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak. "Over the last 28 days, Vietnam has zero local Covid-19 case, while Australia (excluding Victoria state) has a virus local incidence rate of 0.02 per 100,000," said CAAS."The risk of importation from these countries is low." The two countries join New Zealand and Brunei as the four countries that Singapore has unilaterally opened its borders to.

Visitors from the two countries will be able to apply for the Air Travel Pass for entry into Singapore from Thursday (Oct 1). The earliest day they will be able to come into Singapore will be Oct 8.

The Air Travel Pass scheme allows for all forms of short-term travel, including leisure travel. This is in contrast to reciprocal green lane arrangements between countries, which are usually for essential business and official travel.

Visitors will have to take a swab test upon arrival, and can go about their activities after they get a negative test result. They will have to use the TraceTogether app for the duration of their stay here, among other conditions.

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Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said last month that the unilateral reopening of borders to Brunei and New Zealand is a "small, cautious" step that can resuscitate Changi Airport.

It is also an invitation to the world, saying that Singapore is open for business, he added.

The Changi air hub is seen as a crucial part of the Singapore economy. It had been contributing more than 5 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product and employing 192,000 people.

Now, it is among the worst-hit segments of the economy, with the transportation and storage sector shrinking at an annualised rate of 80 per cent, in the second quarter of the year, compared with the first.

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