Singapore is easing more Covid-19 curbs including lifting most restrictions for fully vaccinated visitors arriving in the country and dropping requirements to wear masks outdoors, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a televised national broadcast on Thursday.

Singapore was one of the first countries to shift to a strategy of living with Covid-19 but had to slow some of its easing plans due to subsequent outbreaks.

The Southeast Asian country’s Omicron wave has started to subside. At its peak, Singapore reported a record of nearly 26,000 cases in February, but the daily number of infections fell to about 9,000 on Wednesday.

Most cases have mild or no symptoms, with about 92 percent of its 5.5 million population having been fully vaccinated. Another 71 percent have received a booster jab.

Cross-border travel restrictions will be eased substantially from Tuesday (29 March) as the Covid-19 situation comes under control, said Lee.

He said testing and quarantine requirements for travellers will be streamlined under a simplified Vaccinated Travel Framework. Most restrictions for fully vaccinated visitors entering Singapore will also be lifted.

These changes are expected to allow Singaporeans to travel freely abroad more easily, almost like they did before Covid-19, and reconnect Singapore with the world.

“It will give a much-needed boost to businesses, particularly the tourism sector, and help Singapore reclaim its position as a business and aviation hub,” the prime minister said.

Under the current Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme, only travellers who remain in VTL-designated countries for the previous seven days before entering Singapore can be exempted from quarantine and isolation requirements.

They must be fully vaccinated, enter Singapore on designated flights, buses or ferries, and obtain a negative result on a pre-departure Covid-19 test or proof of recent recovery.

Lee said Singapore had been cautious earlier because of uncertainty over the impact of the Omicron variant. “Now, the Omicron situation is well under control. Nearly all our cases are domestic, originating within the community.

“Arrivals from abroad constitute only a very small proportion of cases. We can therefore safely open up our borders.”

More details on the new framework will be announced at a press conference held by the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19 later on Thursday.


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