S'pore working to establish 'travel bubbles' for essential travel with certain countries: Lawrence Wong

Not mass market travel yet.

Sulaiman Daud | May 28, 2020, 07:27 PM

Singapore will consider allowing essential travel in and out of the country to resume, as we approach the end of the Circuit Breaker period on June 1.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in a press conference on May 28 that Singapore is continuing conversations and work on re-opening our borders.

Wong explained:

"Establishing travel bubbles with countries where the virus situation is under control, and having safe Green Lane travel arrangements with specific countries."

Wong said the idea was to have clear protocols in place, including the testing of travellers from another country to Singapore, and vice-versa.

Wong said: "And with these testing protocols in place, we can have assurance that the traveller is free from infection."

May not need 14-day quarantine

During the Question and Answer session, Wong elaborated on the kind of testing that may be required.

For example, travellers to Singapore may have to be tested before departure, and if they have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past, they may need to undergo serology tests.

If there are testing arrangements, a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Singapore may not be needed. Added Wong:

"We may subject that person to another PCR test because, remember, as we've highlighted before and explained before, one test alone might not be able to pick up the virus, especially when it's in the incubation period."

When those travellers are in Singapore, the authorities will need some way know where they are should contact tracing be needed.

They might be required to download the TraceTogether app or wear a dongle that performs a similar function.

Wong added that bilateral testing and contact tracing are "basic prerequisites" for Green Lane travelling, but also said that these protocols are not yet confirmed, and are just potential solutions.

Businesses to benefit, jobs to "continue"

However, only "essential travel" will be allowed to resume, depending on the countries with which Singapore has established Green Lanes.

Wong called it a "work in progress", with more details to be allowed at a later date.

Wong specifically mentioned that businesses in Singapore, whose staff need to travel around the region, would benefit from the resumption of essential travel.

He added that not only will this allow business to resume, but jobs to "continue", and that Singaporeans can continue to work not just here but in places where they may need to travel.

Does not apply to mass-market travel

However, these arrangements does not mean that mass market travel will resume.

Only essential travel, subject to safeguards and arrangements, will be considered.

Wong said that he expected mass market travel to take more time to resume, not just in Singapore but also internationally.

Top image from Steve Strike's Facebook page.