Feature: Visitors from Chinese mainland enter Singapore after easing of travel restrictions

SINGAPORE, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- The first batch of Chinese visitors arrived in Singapore Friday evening after Singapore granted short-term visitors from the Chinese mainland entry starting from Nov. 6.

They flew to Singapore from Shanghai by taking a five-hour flight of the Juneyao Airlines. They arrived at Terminal One of the Changi Airport at 9:30 p.m.

There are 129 passengers on board the HO1605 flight, who are mainly business travellers and short-term visitors, said Chen Qingyu, general manager of Juneyao Airlines Singapore Branch.

Zhang Zheyue, 28, said she was happy to be among the first batch of short-term visitors from the Chinese mainland to enter Singapore. She came from Yangzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province. She wore a face mask and a pair of goggles on the airplane for personal protection.

She said this is her fifth time to visit Singapore. This time she plans to tour the Universal Studio Singapore and the Singapore Zoo. She would stay in Singapore for several days before flying to the United States to meet her husband who is studying there.

After arriving at the airport, the passengers undergo a COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, and if they test negative of COVID-19, they don't need to serve a 14-day isolation, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on Oct. 29. The test results will be out within 48 hours, and typically within 12 hours.

Chen said that Singapore's ease of travel restrictions demonstrated the confidence in China's controlling of the outbreak of COVID-19, and he expected the number of travellers between the Chinese mainland and Singapore would rise consequently.

Currently, there is only one flight a week linking Shanghai and Singapore from his airlines, and they would monitor the situation and regulations closely to make relevant adjustments, he said.

Starting from Oct. 30, those visitors can apply for an Air Travel Pass for entry into Singapore on or after Nov. 6, according to CAAS.

This latest move followed the earlier lifting of border restrictions for visitors from Australia (excluding the Victoria state), Brunei, New Zealand and Vietnam.

Since 23:59 p.m. March 23, Singapore banned the entry and transit of all short-term visitors in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19.

According to statistics from the Singapore Tourism Board, 3.6 million visitors from the Chinese mainland visited Singapore in 2019, which is the largest number of foreign visitors Singapore had received last year.

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