Those vaccinated could travel abroad, gather in larger numbers soon
Talks on with other countries to mutually recognise digital vaccine certificates
Vaccinated travellers to Singapore might not have to worry about stay-home notices (SHNs) soon, while those who have been inoculated for Covid-19 may be able to travel abroad and gather in larger numbers here.
The multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19 said yesterday that Singapore is also holding discussions with other countries to mutually recognise digital vaccine certificates in the hopes of opening up air travel.
The announcements come as the Republic ramps up its vaccination drive, setting an ambitious target of having two-thirds of its population fully vaccinated by around National Day on Aug 9.
The task force said that with higher vaccination numbers, Singapore will be looking to live with Covid-19 as an endemic disease.
Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, who co-chairs the task force, said: "With higher rates of vaccination, we will also be able to resume travelling. Those who have been vaccinated will be given some concession when travelling or returning to Singapore.
"For example, vaccinated travellers, including Singaporeans who travel overseas and (are) returning to Singapore, may undergo more frequent testing in lieu of serving SHNs."
Travel disruptions arising from the pandemic have put immense pressure on companies, especially those which depend on migrant workers, as well as families who depend on foreign domestic workers.
To help with this, Mr Gan said that more workers, in particular migrant workers and foreign domestic workers, will be allowed to enter Singapore.
"This will ease the immense pressures our companies have been under since the start of the pandemic, and allow stalled projects to restart, family members to reunite and their migrant domestic workers to join them."
He said as the number of vaccinated people rises in the countries these workers come from, and if they are able to control and manage infections, the number of workers allowed from these places will also increase.
At the same time, the Republic is in talks with other countries about further opening up air travel.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, who is also a co-chair of the task force, likened opening up an air travel corridor to an exam, which Singapore and other countries are doing the necessary homework for now.
"Discussing (and) recognising each other's digital certificates, that is just like doing homework - just getting the homework done while envisioning that some day you may open up some form of air travel arrangement," said Mr Ong.
"So, I think all these homework should be done now with as many partners as possible - just getting the paperwork and the mutual recognition sorted out."
Responding to a question on the progress of discussions between Singapore and Malaysia to recognise vaccination records, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong - a task force co-chair - said Singapore is in talks with many countries, and such talks are ongoing.
During the virtual media conference, Mr Wong said that the Government will also be revising the public health guidelines for vaccinated people within Singapore, including permitting larger gatherings.
"We could allow gatherings involving just vaccinated persons to have larger group sizes, and also relax the social distancing rules in such settings, because only vaccinated persons are involved," said Mr Wong.