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Singapore to Lift Restrictions on Travelers From Australia, Vietnam Next Week

Starting October 8, the nation will lift arrival restrictions in light of the two country's successful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) announced yesterday that Vietnam and Australia, with the exception of Victoria state, will join New Zealand and Brunei as the only locations foreign travelers can arrive from. Visitors from the four nations will not have to serve the mandatory seven-day stay-home notice, although they are required to take a COVID-19 swab test upon landing.

Additionally, all people coming from abroad will need to download and keep active the TraceTogether app on their phones to allow for contact tracing. They must also pay for the cost of the tests.

Singapore is eager to jumpstart its important tourism industry and an official noted: "The risk of importation from these countries is low." Vietnam hasn't had a new community-spread case in 28 days and the infection rate in Australia is down to 0.02 cases per 100,000 people.

The move is seen as an important step in resuscitating Singapore's Changi Airport which accounts for 5% of Singapore's gross domestic product and employed 192,000 workers before the global pandemic. 

Meanwhile, Vietnam and Australia both remain closed to foreign travelers. Tào Thị Thanh Hương, Vietnam's ambassador to Singapore, and Michael McCormack, Australia’s deputy prime minister both spoke with Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung. He posted on Facebook: "They were appreciative of Singapore’s decision, and when conditions are right, I believe they will consider reciprocating the lifting of restrictions to travelers from Singapore."

[Photo via Flickr user David Russo]

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