Singapore to have five long public holiday weekends in 2022, amid hopes travel can resume; 24 imported Covid-19 cases on Tuesday (April 6)

SINGAPORE, April 6 (The Straits Times/ANN): For freelance facilitator Angie Woo, 56, low numbers of Covid-19 infections in some countries and Singapore's own vaccination drive are feeding hopes that international travel may be back on the cards next year.

"At this point I'm dying to get out," she said. "Places like Australia and Taiwan seem good options as they have low infection numbers."

Woo, who was vaccinated in January, hopes that if enough people are vaccinated, quarantine requirements between countries with low infection rates may be relaxed. And the mother of two children in their 20s hopes to be able to use some of the long weekends next year for a family vacation.

There were 24 new Covid-19 cases confirmed at noon on Tuesday (April 6), taking Singapore's total to 60,519. The Covid-19 situation in Singapore currently is very stable.

They were all imported cases who had been placed on stay-home notices on arrival in Singapore, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

There were no community cases and none from migrant workers' dormitories.

There will be five long weekends next year, one more than the four this year, the Ministry of Manpower announced on Tuesday (April 6) in its release on gazetted public holidays.

In fact, six of the 11 public holidays fall on a Friday, Sunday or Monday.

As Labour Day and Hari Raya Puasa fall on consecutive days on Sunday, May 1 and Monday, May 2 next year, they will be part of a single long weekend of four days. May 3, a Tuesday, will be a public holiday.

Observers note that overseas travel has been sorely missed by many in Singapore, and long weekends mean less when home is now synonymous with the workplace.

PeopleWorldwide Consulting's managing director David Leong said the year-long work-from-home arrangements many employees have been faced with due to the coronavirus pandemic have increasingly blurred the line between weekdays and weekends.

"Long weekends were a celebrated getaway for most. Now, they're muted and less of a thrill since travel bubbles are still not properly formed for safe travel," he added.

Alicia Seah, director of public relations and communications at Dynasty Travel, said that while the skies are not yet clear, her agency has begun receiving calls from vaccinated customers asking where they might be able to travel to.

"People seem to be less keen on local tourism as the pandemic wears on, but international leisure travel can resume only if quarantine restrictions on both ends lift," she cautioned.

Some, however, are not too fussed about travelling in the near future. Business associate Kristerbel Pang, 24, who travelled often before the pandemic, is considering using her own leave to extend one or two of the long weekends.

But she is also concerned that even if international travel restarts, it could be hurt by spikes in price due to pent-up demand.

"I might go on a cruise to nowhere, or spend time with friends and family. The most important thing about holidays is the people you spend them with," she said. - The Straits Times/ANN
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