Singapore to lift quarantines for some travelers from Germany, Hong Kong

A Singapore Airlines plane is parked beside Scoots passenger planes on the terminal tarmac at Changi International Airport in Singapore on March 15, 2021.

Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Singapore is reopening its borders to more destinations, and some travelers from Hong Kong, Macao, Germany and Brunei will soon be able to enter without having to serve quarantine.

The city-state announced the lifting of border restrictions for visitors from Hong Kong and Macao, who can apply for entry immediately and enter Singapore as soon as Aug. 26, according to Transport Minister S. Iswaran.

Singapore will also be opening a so-called vaccinated travel lane with Germany and Brunei in September, the national aviation authority said. It means Singaporeans can travel to Germany and Brunei, while visitors from those countries can travel to Singapore without quarantine, if the conditions are met.

“As an open and small economy, our connectivity with the rest of the world is essential, if not existential. That is why we need to start reopening,” Iswaran told reporters. “The longer our borders remain closed, the greater the risk of lasting damage to our economy, our livelihoods and our status as an aviation hub.”

Singapore has unilaterally opened its borders to travelers from Taiwan, New Zealand and most visitors from mainland China. The Southeast Asian country closed its borders to Australia and Vietnam after a resurgence of the virus in those countries.

Hong Kong and Macao

Germany and Brunei

Iswaran said at the virtual press briefing, “The vaccinated travel lanes with Germany and Brunei mark a measured start to the resumption of air travel with an essential set of safeguards. We have chosen to start with these two countries based on overall risk and operational assessments.”

Around 57% of Germany’s population has been fully vaccinated, compared with 71.3% of Singapore’s population, according to Our World in Data. Only 11.9% of Brunei’s population is fully vaccinated.

“Our higher population vaccination rates now give us the foundation to introduce vaccination-differentiated border measures for travelers from countries/regions that have controlled the pandemic well and also vaccinated large parts of their population,” Singapore’s health ministry said in a press release.

Correction: This story has been updated to accurately reflect that if the travel lane with Germany is implemented, it will be the first time Singapore residents can travel for leisure without quarantine since the city-state closed its borders last year. The text has also been amended to accurately describe the conditions of the new rules.

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