Singapore Opens for Quarantine-Free Travel


  • Singapore opens its borders to more countries amidst the pandemic.
  • Singapore’s latest wave has led to daily infections.
  • The key remains to reach the remaining unvaccinated seniors and protect the vulnerable.

Singapore opens its doors to traveling after a vigorous campaign. Other nations battling the pandemic envied the decision. Warning risks after a surge in deaths and infections, as reported by Reuters.

Singapore re-opening its borders

“Singapore may potentially experience two to three epidemic waves as measures are increasingly relaxed,” said Alex Cook, a disease modeling expert at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Singapore is one of several so-called COVID-zero countries that enforced some of the world’s strictest measures to hold infections and deaths far below the tallies elsewhere.

Now it is slowly re-opening its borders, expanding quarantine-free travel to nearly a dozen countries.

Australia and New Zealand have begun a similar transition, while China has yet to move ahead.

Vaccines may not protect the vulnerable

But the question authorities face is how to avert surges among older people and those with weak immune systems, particularly after the fast-spreading Delta, which arrived in Singapore this year, became the most dominant strain globally.

“If I were a policymaker in Australia, New Zealand, or China, I’d be studying what has happened in Singapore,” Cook said.

Although 84% of Singapore residents have been fully vaccinated, most with doses from Pfizer (PFE.N)/BioNTech or Moderna (MRNA.O), the vaccines may not protect some of the most vulnerable.

But Singapore’s rolling seven-day average of 1.77 daily deaths per million people outstrips regional peers such as Japan with 0.14, South Korea with 0.28, and Australia with 0.58.

It trails the U.S. figure of 4.96, and Britain’s 1.92.

That compares with figures of 2,825.7 in Brazil and 2,202.4 in the United States.

COVID becomes endemic

Following an easing of curbs in August, Singapore’s latest wave has led to daily infections this week of nearly 4,000, or nearly three times higher than last year’s peak.

“The reality is that as COVID becomes endemic more and more people will get COVID.”

More than 600,000 individuals have received one, as authorities target those older than 30, beyond the elderly and healthcare workers.

Measures just short of mandatory vaccinations, such as barring dining out and entry to shopping malls for the unvaccinated, helped push the number of those getting their first dose to 17,000 last week, up 54% from a week before.

“I do not think that easing of restrictions is going to have any impact on the case numbers,” said Paul Tambyah, president of the Asia Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection.

“The key remains to reach the remaining unvaccinated seniors and protect the vulnerable.”

Did you subscribe to our newsletter?

It’s free! Click here to subscribe!

Source: Reuters


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.