In what is more welcome news for the possibility of green lane travel from Australia, Singapore has become the most fully vaccinated country in the world, according to a Reuters tracker.
Singapore now has 80 per cent of its 5.7 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
“We have crossed another milestone, where 80 per cent of our population has received their full regimen of two doses,” he wrote.
“It means Singapore has taken another step forward in making ourselves more resilient to COVID-19.”
Singapore, which like Australia, has mostly followed a zero transmission model, has been planning an exit strategy that involves “learning to live with COVID-19”.
This will likely include a gradual reduction of restrictions, including phasing out snap lockdowns and masks and allowing larger crowds of people to gather.
And, of course, the progressive resumption of its place as one of the world’s busiest travel hubs in and out of Changi Airport.
Last Friday, the CEO of The Qantas Group, Alan Joyce, announced plans to restart international Qantas flights from Australia in mid-December to a number of destinations, including Singapore.
Singapore also recently launched its first quarantine-free travel program for vaccinated people arriving from Germany and Brunei and plans to ease restrictions for visitors from Hong Kong and Macao.
From 8 September, visitors from Germany and Brunei can apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass to enter Singapore, regardless of their travel reasons.
They must take multiple coronavirus tests, including pre-departure, on arrival, and post-arrival, instead of quarantine on arrival.
“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.
Lawrence Wong, finance minister and co-chair of Singapore’s coronavirus task force, said it was important to reopen the country carefully.
“Risk tolerance and risk attitudes will differ from country to country,” he told a briefing.
“We want to get through this pandemic with minimum damage and minimum death toll while trying to resume life as normally as we can.”
Official government data shows there have been more than 67,300 total cases since the pandemic began in Singapore, with 55 deaths and 133 new cases recorded yesterday.
The small island and travel hub relies on Pfizer and Moderna to vaccinate its population.
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