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Travellers with baggage at Jewel Changi Airport mall in Singapore. Photo: Bloomberg

Singapore to drop Covid-19 tests for fully-vaccinated travellers, further ease domestic restrictions in ‘important milestone’

  • Currently, those travelling to the city state are required to take a pre-departure test two days before arrival but this rule will be axed from April 26
  • Domestically, more Covid-19 restrictions will also be relaxed from next Tuesday, almost bringing Singapore back to how things were before the pandemic
Singapore will drop all Covid-19 tests for fully-vaccinated travellers while further easing domestic restrictions in an “important milestone” as it forges ahead with its plan to live with the virus.

Currently, those travelling to the city state are required to take a pre-departure test two days before arrival, but this rule will be dropped from April 26.

“With this move, it will mean that fully-vaccinated and well travellers will not require any tests to enter Singapore,” the health ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Hong Kong to allow non-residents to fly into city from May 1

Tourists coming into Singapore will also be allowed to pay for Moderna Covid-19 jabs.

Domestically, more restrictions will also be relaxed from next Tuesday – bringing the country almost back to the state of affairs before the pandemic.

Current limits capping social groups to 10 will be removed, all workers can return to the workplace, and safe distancing will no longer be required. The number of places people are required to use the “TraceTogether” contact-tracing application will also be slashed.

“Today is really a happy day that marks a very important milestone,” health minister Ong Ye Kung said. “We know the danger is of course, not over, but we can all breathe easier now.”

More Covid-19 restrictions will be dropped in Singapore from next week. Photo: AFP

The city state, with one of the world’s highest vaccination rates, has progressively relaxed its pandemic restrictions. The health ministry reported that the seven-day moving average of daily infections had fallen from 18,300 at its peak to under 3,100 in the past week. Hospitalisation numbers have also dipped to about 266.

Lawrence Wong, the country’s finance minister and a co-chair of the virus task force, stressed that while the outdoor mask mandate had been lifted, it was still necessary to retain the measure for indoor settings.

“Mask-wearing is effective and it will be one of the last few measures that we will do away with,” he said.

Joy, free beer, parties: Singapore makes post-Covid shift, but many remain wary

Just last month, Singapore took its most decisive step yet in reopening its borders by allowing all fully-vaccinated travellers – from any country or region – to enter quarantine-free.

It also removed the requirement for on-arrival Covid-19 tests.

Authorities expect the move to boost air passenger volumes to at least 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. The civil aviation authority reported that numbers were at 31 per cent last week, with particularly strong traffic growth to and from Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

Travellers push their luggage though the departure hall at Changi Airport in Singapore on Wednesday. Air passenger volumes were at 31 per cent of pre-pandemic levels last week. Photo: Bloomberg
Singapore’s move to remove pre-departure testing will make travelling almost like it was during the pre-pandemic era. Other countries in Southeast Asia that rely heavily on tourism have also started revising their testing guidelines.
Thailand on Friday announced that it would replace its mandatory on-arrival PCR test, to a voluntary self-administered antigen swab.

Singapore aims to be Asia’s busiest airport as Hong Kong delays easing travel curbs

Wong, who last week was given the nod by the ruling People’s Action Party as the putative successor to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said that the easing of measures was a “well deserved breather after two very difficult years” of battling the pandemic.

“But let’s always remember we are getting closer to the finish line, but the race is not over,” he said.