Singapore and China to reopen some travel in June – dpa international


Shanghai at night (Simon Roughneen)

KUALA LUMPUR — A “fast lane” for business and “essential” travel between Singapore and China will open next week, allowing some flights to resume between the two countries after a four-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to officials.

A Singapore Foreign Ministry statement released late Friday said that travel will initially be allowed between Singapore and six Chinese cities and regions, including Shanghai and Guangdong.

Though the two countries have reported the most coronavirus cases in East Asia, Singapore believes “the prevention and control of Covid-19 and the economic and social recovery” in both to have “entered a new phase.”

While the majority of China’s 84,160 reported coronavirus cases were diagnosed early in the year – after the virus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan before spreading around the world – Singapore’s caseload has increased 33-fold since April 1, with thousands of foreign workers infected.

611 new cases were diagnosed on Friday, taking the total to nearly 34,000, Singapore’s Ministry of Health said. Only 3 Singaporeans were among the newly-infected.

With “community cases” – meaning outside the migrants’ residences – remaining low, Singapore will end a two month lockdown on Monday.

International transit flights can again pass through its busy airport from the following day.

Travel and trade-dependent Singapore hopes to announce other deals along the lines of the new arrangement with China. National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said on Thursday that the governmment wants “travel bubbles” linking Singapore to countries where “the virus situation is under control.”

Similar plans are being discussed elsewhere among other countries that appear to have stemmed the spread of the virus, such as Australia and New Zealand.

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