2,500 people have travelled to Singapore via reciprocal green lanes; 2 Covid-19 cases among them

SINGAPORE – About 2,500 travellers have arrived in Singapore via reciprocal green lanes from June 8 to Dec 25 last year, with two among them testing positive for Covid-19, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong has said.

About 835 of the travellers came from three Asean states – Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, he said in Parliament on Tuesday (Jan 5).

Another 1,640 or so came from countries in North-east Asia – China, South Korea and Japan – while about 15 arrived from Germany.

Mr Gan, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force combating Covid-19, also said that as at Dec 26 last year, two people from Japan were detected with the virus during the mandatory test on arrival here for such travellers.

The reciprocal green lanes facilitate short-term essential business and official travel between Singapore and its counterpart countries or regions, and the first such arrangement kicked in on June 8 last year between Singapore and China, in what was then called a “fast lane”.

Six provinces and municipalities in China – Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang – were included then, and Singapore currently continues to admit travellers from these places under the arrangement.

The travellers have to abide by several rules.

Either a company or government agency in Singapore can sponsor or apply for a prospective traveller to visit Singapore at least 14 days before arrival under the reciprocal green lanes.

Approved travellers must take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction test within 72 hours before departure for Singapore at an authorised health centre designated by the government of a counterpart country, and obtain a certificate for a negative test.

On arrival in Singapore, these travellers will be swabbed and must test negative once more before they are allowed to proceed with a 14-day itinerary, submitted by their sponsor during the travel application process. They are also required to use TraceTogether during their stay here.

Besides the reciprocal green lanes, Singapore has in place two other travel arrangements with several countries and territories.

Visitors from Australia, Brunei, China, New Zealand, Taiwan and Vietnam can apply for an air travel pass for all forms of travel and not be quarantined, provided they test negative for Covid-19 on arrival.

Separately, the periodic commuting arrangement allows Singapore and Malaysia residents with long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes in the other country to periodically return home for short-term home leave.

An air travel bubble with Hong Kong – which would have facilitated leisure travel between the two places – was slated to launch in November last year but was deferred following a spike in cases in the territory.

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