The PAP Government will ensure that Singaporeans stay safe while Singapore manages the inevitable risks of reopening its borders. Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung stressed that what is at stake is not hundreds of thousands of jobs but our status as an air hub, Singapore’s relevance to the world, our economic survival, and in turn our ability to determine our own future.
“The key is to make sure we stay safe and manage the risks.”
Here are four things that the Government will do:
- Supporting the aviation sector
The Government will continue to support Singapore Airlines, Changi Airport Group and other companies in the aviation sector. This includes the Jobs Support Scheme, Enhanced Aviation Support Package and temporary redeployment programmes for workers affected by the slow-down in air travel.
“The most meaning support we can give to our aviation companies is to restore passenger traffic and revive our air hub, in a safe and controlled manner,” Mr Ong said.
- Improving testing capacity
Mr Ong said that testing is the key to unlock air travel. Changi Airport has set up a facility to swab up to 10,000 passengers a day as a start. The Government also plans to set up a dedicated COVID-19 testing laboratory at Changi in the next few months to support aviation recovery.
- Negotiating Air Travel Bubbles with safe countries or regions
Singapore will negotiate Air Travel Bubbles (ATB) with safe countries or regions that have comprehensive public health surveillance systems, and low rates of Covid-19 infection – an arrangement meant for general travellers that does not require a controlled itinerary.
Mr Ong explained that the risks posed by ATB can be further managed by setting a quota on the number of daily travellers and ensuring everyone gets tested for Covid-19.
These two-way travel bubbles come on top of other measures like reciprocal green lane arrangements meant for business and official travellers and unilaterally lifting border restrictions.
- Facilitating visits to Singapore without onerous restriction
The Government recognises that the requirement of having to serve a full 14-day Stay Home Notice (SHN) in a hotel will deter most travellers from wanting to come to Singapore. It will replace SHN with new requirements, be it more stringent and repeated testing protocol to ensure they are virus free or by minimising their contact with the rest of the community and closely tracking their movements.
Image Credit: Ong Ye Kung’s Facebook