Singapore extends quarantine-free entry as Asia shifts to “living with COVID”
SINGAPORE, March 24 (Reuters) – Singapore said on Thursday it will lift quarantine requirements for all vaccinated travellers from next month, joining a string of countries in Asia moving more firmly toward a “living with the virus” approach.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the financial hub will also drop requirements to wear masks outdoors and allow larger groups to gather.
“Our fight against COVID-19 has reached a major turning point,” Lee said in a televised speech that was also streamed on Facebook. “We will be making a decisive move towards living with COVID-19.”
Singapore was one of the first countries to shift from a containment strategy to new COVID normal for its 5.5 million population, but had to slow some of its easing plans due to subsequent outbreaks.
Now, as infection surges caused by the Omicron variant begin to subside in most countries in the region and vaccination rates improve, Singapore and other nations are removing a host of social distancing measures designed to stop the spread of the virus.
Singapore began lifting quarantine restrictions for vaccinated travellers from certain countries in September, with 32 countries on the list before Thursday’s extension to vaccinated visitors from any nation.