Vaccinated travellers still subject to border rules, SHN: Lawrence Wong

Dhany Osman
·Editor
·2 min read
Travellers wearing protective masks seen walking along the transit area of Changi International Airport terminal 15 December. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Travellers wearing protective masks seen walking along the transit area of Changi International Airport terminal 15 December. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Vaccinated travellers will continue to be subject to prevailing border measures and Stay-Home Notice (SHN) requirements, said multi-ministry taskforce (MTF) co-chair Lawrence Wong in Parliament on Monday (4 January).

“There are several ongoing studies on the effectiveness of vaccines in reducing transmission risk, and we are monitoring these very closely. (If) there is clear evidence that transmission risks can be lowered significantly, then we will certainly consider some relaxation to the SHN regime for vaccinated travellers,” Wong said while delivering his Ministerial Statement.

Wong, who is also Education Minister, noted that while it is likely that COVID-19 vaccination can reduce the risk of transmission of the virus, the extent of such a reduction is still unknown.

His comments came as Singapore continues to roll out its COVID-19 vaccination programme, which saw the first batch of local healthcare workers receiving a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on 30 December.

Earlier in his speech, Wong observed that while Singapore cannot afford to “freely open” its borders now, the country cannot afford to close itself off completely from the rest of the world.

To this end, he pointed to the calculated, risk-based approach in managing Singapore’s borders so as to allow essential business and official travel, and the movement of travellers of high economic value.

Responding to a query from Aljunied GRC MP Gerald Giam, Wong said that between 18 November and 27 December last year, over 12,000 travellers – including citizens and permanent residents – had entered Singapore after arriving from higher-risk regions without having taken pre-departure COVID-19 tests.

Of these travellers, only 100 – or 0.85 per cent – tested positive for the coronavirus and none of the cases resulted in local transmissions.

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