Singapore reopening to travellers from 9 countries: no return for UAE tourists yet

Vaccinated visitors from the UK, US, Canada and some countries in Europe will be able to fly to the Lion City this month

Singapore is opening up to vaccinated travellers from several countries in October. Photo: Ore Huiying / Bloomberg
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Singapore will relax its strict Covid-19 travel regulations for some tourists later this October.

The island nation has announced that from midnight on October 18, travellers from the UK, the US, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain can visit Singapore for tourism purposes.

From November 15, South Korea will also join the list of approved countries.

The destinations have been added to Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme which allows fully-immunised visitors to apply to travel to the Asian business hub for tourism purposes.

Applications to travel to Singapore will open at 10am on Tuesday, and travellers must apply at least seven days before they fly.

Tourists from Brunei and Germany can already travel to Singapore under the same scheme. From Monday, October 18, these travellers and all others arriving under the new rules will no longer need to take a day 3 and day 7 Covid-19 PCR test.

To qualify to travel, tourists must have received a full dose of an accepted vaccine. These are Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Janssen, Sinopharm and Sinovac.

Short-term visitors from Hong Kong, Macao, China and Taiwan can also travel to Singapore under the country’s Air Travel Pass scheme. This handy tool from Singapore's Immigration authority allows travellers to check their eligibility to enter the country and under which scheme.

All short-term visitors to Singapore must have travel insurance for any possible Covid-19-related medical treatment, with a minimum coverage of 30,000 Singapore dollars ($22,135).

Anyone hoping to visit the city-state from the UAE will have to wait a little longer as the Emirates is currently not one of the approved destinations included in Singapore’s initial phase of reopening.

Switching track on Covid-19

The news of the country's gradual reopening comes despite a spike in the country's Covid-19 cases over the last month.

The country recently reimposed some social curbs to try to steady a rising number of daily infections that peaked on Saturday with a record high of 3,703 cases.

Despite data from Johns Hopkins University showing that over 80 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated, Singapore has struggled to return to normality amid constantly changing plans on how best to navigate the virus.

On Saturday, Singapore's prime minister Lee Hsien Loong said on television that the country cannot stay “locked down and closed off indefinitely,” but at the same time there will be “quite many Covid-19 cases for some time to come.”

Restarting tourism is Singapore's way of reopening to the world. The sector makes up around 4 per cent of the country's gross domestic product, according to data from the Singapore Tourism Board.

Singapore Changi Airport, which was previously one of the busiest airports in the world welcoming over 68 million visitors in 2019, has remained underused throughout the pandemic.

In 2020, the world-renowned airport had only 11.8 million visitors pass through its terminals and in May last year, airport authorities closed Terminal 2 for at least 18 months citing a lack of demand.

Updated: October 11, 2021, 12:03 PM