Singaporean Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, through a post on his verified Facebook account, announced on Tuesday that the country is set to start plans to allow business travelers from all countries to enter through a new segregated travel lane for short-term stays.
Short stays will be up to 14 days, he said.
According to his statements, the special travel lane, called the Connect@Singapore initiative, will be open to a limited number of business, official, and high economic value travelers from all countries visiting Singapore.
Applications for this initiative will open in mid-January 2021.
Chan said authorities would ensure that strict health and testing protocols were put in place. He also explained that business travelers who wish to participate would have to stay in a designated facility under the Connect@Singapore initiative, in addition to undergoing periodic routine testing and strictly observing all existing Safe Management Measures.
The initiative aims to boost Singapore’s global reputation and support the eventual economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
This new travel lane’s announcement comes shortly after the postponement of the long-awaited air travel bubble in Hong Kong and Singapore. This bubble would have allowed air travel without quarantine between the two countries.
However, an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong forced them to pause the plan on November 22, just 24 hours before its launch.
The travelers would have had to meet certain parameters before flying, such as not having made trips in the last 14 days and undergoing mandatory COVID-19 tests. But they would not be required to meet any quarantine or controlled itinerary requirements upon arrival.
However, the arrangement always included the warning that the plan could be suspended if the COVID-19 situation deteriorates in either of the two Asian centers.
So far, Hong Kong has recorded more than 7,624 COVID-19 cases and 120 deaths since the outbreak began. Singapore, in turn, has reported 58,325 infections and 29 deaths since the beginning of the year.
On Monday, the Singapore government announced it would advance to the third and final phase of its national COVID-19 response strategy on December 28 as it has largely defeated the coronavirus.