Malaysia Business: Singapore announced that it will suspend Malaysia’s quarantine-free business travel arrangement for three months after daily COVID-19 infection cases spiked to record levels. It will most probably largely affect business between the closely connected neighbours.
Germany and South Korea will also be suspended for the same period with similar reciprocal arrangements. It has shown how difficult it is to open borders during the prolonged pandemic.
The reason for the suspension is due to “the resurgence of COVID-19 cases worldwide”, cited by Singapore’s foreign ministry. The ministry will review the arrangements after three months.
The lengthy suspension demonstrates the country’s concern about inbound travellers from worse COVID-19 infected countries. Apparently, Singapore is accelerating its vaccination campaign for local residents to support economic recovery.
With a multiple of Singapore’s key economic partners seeing the increasing of COVID-19 confirmed cases worldwide passed 100 million, the announcement is made due to their concerns.
Singapore has successfully kept its infection rate largely under control, with single-digit or zero daily COVID-19 infection cases. However, there are double digits infection cases among foreign arrivals, which place locals in danger.
According to preliminary data in early January, Singapore’s economy has reduced 5.8% last year. Singapore who heavily reliant on international trade has gradually opened up to essential business travellers by loosening quarantine procedures.
Singapore’s plan on other countries beside of Malaysia business
With key partners including China, Brunei, Germany, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and South Korea, Singapore has incorporated “reciprocal green lane” schemes from last June. Besides, after Indonesia and Japan tightened entry restrictions, Singapore has suspended the arrangements with both of them.
In August, Singapore agreed on the scheme with Malaysia and was especially significant to maintain strong ties and proximity of the two countries. Moreover, the one-hour flight to Kuala Lumpur is one of the world’s busiest air links in normal times.
Besides, Singapore planned to initiate a general travel bubble with Hong Kong. However, this was a casualty to the increase of infection cases in the Chinese territory.
The ministry said that Singapore’s government will continuously monitor the global situation and adjust their border measure to minimize the risk of importation and transmission to their local community.
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