Singapore resumes border reopening after pause due to Omicron outbreak

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SINGAPORE, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Singapore will expand quarantine-free travel to Hong Kong, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this month, its health ministry said on Wednesday, resuming reopening of borders after a pause due to coronavirus outbreak.

The city-state will also restore and increase quotas under its vaccinated travel program, which were cut in December to deal with the Omicron variant. Read more

Singapore will streamline border measures for all travelers and remove the entry approval requirement for eligible residents who hold long-term passes, the ministry said, making it easier for expatriates to travel.

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However, some foreign workers with different permits typically employed in industries such as construction and manufacturing will still require entry clearance.

The country intends to eventually remove vaccinated traffic lanes for visitors from designated countries to allow entry for all vaccinated visitors without quarantine, authorities said.

About two dozen countries participate in the vaccinated pathways program, including Australia, India, Malaysia, Britain and the United States. The new path with Hong Kong is one-sided.

Singapore reported a record 19,179 local coronavirus infections on Tuesday, but the majority of cases had mild or no symptoms. The government said the number of cases was in line with expectations and the overall health system situation remained stable.

Singapore could see 15,000 to 20,000 daily cases of COVID-19 until the current wave of Omicron drops in a few weeks, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong told a briefing. .

The government has announced a series of changes to local COVID-19 measures, including relaxing rules for close contacts of confirmed cases, scrapping routine testing for workers in multiple sectors and allowing more interactions in residences and workplaces.

Singapore will ease social and travel restrictions when the Omicron wave subsides, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said, adding that new local rules on testing and isolation give more weight to personal responsibility than to legal requirements.

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Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore Editing by Ed Davies

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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