Moves to categorise Singapore as high-risk destination do not affect vaccinated travellers here: Ong Ye Kung

SINGAPORE – The move by some countries to categorise Singapore as a high-risk destination due to its Covid-19 infection numbers does not affect vaccinated people living here.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Saturday (Oct 23) that advisories issued by these countries are for their own citizens.

It is to alert them that infection rates here are higher, and to inform them to take precautions.

The advisories do not impact fully vaccinated individuals from Singapore travelling to these countries, he added.

In the past week, Germany and the United States have moved Singapore to their higher Covid-19 risk categories of destinations.

Mr Ong, who is co-chair of the multi-ministry task force handling Covid-19, said that these countries are reflecting the fact that Singapore is going through a big wave of coronavirus spread and therefore infection rates are higher.

But there is a lot of goodwill between such nations and Singapore, noted the minister.

“Everybody has gone through these waves; we all know that it is a rite of passage we have to go through.

“At some point, it will stabilise, it will come down, and we all want to work together – maintain our connections, our people-to-people exchanges,” said Mr Ong.

He added that moves to categorise Singapore as a high-risk destination should not stop the Republic and these countries from developing vaccinated travel lanes.

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Mr Ong made special mention of news on Friday that Australia plans to set up a travel bubble with Singapore, which will allow quarantine-free flights to start from November.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had said that the bubble for fully vaccinated travellers could be in place by Nov 23 and would initially apply to international students and business travellers.

Tourists could be allowed to enter from December this year.

The two countries have been in talks for some time about recognising each other’s vaccination certificates, with Mr Ong saying he is happy discussions have made progress.

“Details are still being worked out, but we certainly look forward to the day when travel lanes are open again between Singapore and Australia,” he added.

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