The Fast Lane arrangement will be first applied between Singapore and six Chinese provinces or municipalities directly under the central government, and will gradually expand to include additional areas. Covid-19 prevention and control measures will remain in place.
The initial agreement applies to travel between Singapore and Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.
The announcement follows the second China-Singapore joint meeting on Covid-19, held Thursday via video conference and led by permanent secretary Chee Wee Kiong of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore and China’s vice foreign minister Luo Zhaohui.
The agreement comes as countries cautiously seek to begin so-called "travel bubbles” after the pandemic shut down borders earlier this year. China, where the coronavirus first emerged, appears to have brought its cases under control, while Singapore is moving toward opening its economy after wrestling to contain an outbreak among thousands of foreign workers.
Lockdown measures are starting to ease across many Asian countries. In a Facebook post Friday, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the country will explore reopening borders gradually "when the time is right.”
Singapore ministers have previously said that the Southeast Asian nation will likely "start small and selectively” for any border re-opening, while continuing to impose a mix of isolation and test requirements.
Singapore is prepared to work bilaterally with countries and regions if there are sufficient precautions, such as testing before departure and upon arrival, said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.
Singapore will also take into consideration factors including infection rates in countries and the types of precautions in place. - Bloomberg
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