Singapore has announced it is easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions and will allow quarantine-free travel from a number of nations, including the UK.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said it was time to press on with the “strategy of living with Covid-19”.
He said so-called vaccinated travel lanes with Germany and Brunei had been successful and would be extended to nine other countries.
Singapore had very tight restrictions in place to tackle the pandemic.
Covid-19-related deaths are very low, but the lockdown has had an impact on the South Asian island’s status as a business and aviation hub.
Prime Minister Lee told Singaporeans in a televised address that the Delta variant had shown the coronavirus was not going to go away.
But with vaccinations, social distancing measures, and careful monitoring, it is possible to live with the “new normal”.
“It will take us at least three months, and perhaps as long as six months, to get there,” he said, acknowledging a likely surge in cases as restrictions ease that would have to be monitored closely.
Prime Minister Lee said the vaccinated travel lanes with Germany and Brunei began last month had shown that vaccinated people could travel safely and quarantine-free without contributing to a rise in cases.ADVERTISEMENT
He said an expansion of the arrangement with countries with stable numbers of coronavirus cases would “keep us connected to global supply chains and help to preserve Singapore’s hub status”.
From 13 October, the government announced, it would allow vaccinated travelers from Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, the US and the UK, and, from November, South Korea.
The government also announced that it would allow groups of two vaccinated people to dine in restaurants and shop in malls. In-class teaching for children under the age of 12 will be allowed to resume although “centers are encouraged to continue conducting lessons online”.