Singapore is slowly reopening to tourism after government officials announced 80 percent of its population has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to Reuters.com, Singapore is one of the first countries in the region to begin the gradual reopening process, with vaccinated travelers from Germany and Brunei allowed to enter without quarantining, starting next week.
While quarantine restrictions will be lifted for approved travelers, masks are still mandatory in almost all public settings, group sizes are limited and registration on a contact-tracing app is required.
“We will move step by step – not in one big bang like some countries, but cautiously and progressively, feeling our way forward,” Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong said.
The slow reopening process is likely to delay the recovery of Singapore’s tourism industry—the economy shrunk by a record 5.4 percent last year—but other countries with low infection rates will be watching to see whether coronavirus cases increase due to the influx of tourists.
Other nations in the Asia Pacific, like New Zealand and Taiwan, remain closed to tourism despite early success against the virus, while other countries with a high vaccination rate like Israel have been forced to reinstate restrictions after a surge in cases due to the Delta variant.
“Singapore is a good example for Australia to pay attention to because we are probably going to be in a similar situation,” Canberra Hospital infectious diseases physician Peter Collignon said. “We need to open up and we need to do it in a way that COVID-19 is going to become endemic.”
Government officials in Singapore revealed the country’s economy is forecast to grow between six-seven percent this year after 2020’s record recession. In 2019, the nation welcomed a record 19.1 million travelers.
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