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Singapore looks to start quarantine-free travel by September

Singapore is aiming to allow quarantine-free travel for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from September, when 80% of the city-state’s population should be inoculated, the government said on Monday.

Lawrence Wong, Finance Minister, said that the South-East Asian country will establish travel corridors with countries or regions where COVID-19 is under control, and those who are vaccinated may not have to quarantine or may be allowed to isolate at home.

The city-state is also set to review whether to loosen curbs in early August, when two-thirds of its population would be fully vaccinated.

Wong said:

The easing will be differentiated and extended to only vaccinated persons, because they are much better protected against the effects of the virus. If you want to go out to dine in the restaurant or workout in the gym, you have to be fully vaccinated.

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Last week, Singapore tightened social curbs, including halting restaurant dining and banning gatherings of more than two people for one month, after a rise in infections.

More than half of the country has received both the doses of either Pfizer-BioNTech, or Moderna vaccines. The nation has vaccinated nearly 75% of its 5.7 million people with at least one dose of the aforementioned vaccines, the world’s second-highest rate behind the United Arab Emirates, according to Reuters’ vaccine tracker.

As countries with advanced vaccination campaigns prepare to live with COVID-19 as an endemic disease, their focus is turning to preventing death and serious diseases through vaccination.

Wong said that Singapore may not remove all of its social distancing measures. For example, it may remove its mask mandate for outdoors, but require people to keep them on in an indoor enclosed environment.

As of 25th July 2021, Singapore had 1,537 active cases, with 12 cases of serious illness requiring oxygen, and two patients in critical condition in the intensive care unit (ICU).

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