Covid-19 situation in partner countries monitored daily, context of cases important: Ong Ye Kung » EntornoInteligente /

SINGAPORE – Singapore is closely watching the situation in countries it has travel agreements with  which are seeing a resurgence in Covid-19 infections, said Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung.

Even as the case numbers spike in countries such as Germany and Indonesia – with which Singapore has green lane arrangements for business travel – it is important to note where the infections are happening, he said on Thursday (Oct 29).

“In the case of reciprocal green lanes, it is targeted at business travellers. And among these groups, more likely… their case rates are lower,” he told The Straits Times.

The risks of importing Covid-19 cases from these countries are further mitigated by other precautions such as Covid-19 testing and a controlled itinerary, he pointed out.

Mr Ong was responding to concerns raised about Singapore’s reciprocal green lane for business and official travel with Germany. German authorities had this week announced plans for a lockdown next month after a surge in Covid-19 cases.

“We have to understand where the cases are, and which segment of society is not actually (registering) a high number of cases,” he said.

When case numbers soared in Singapore, the country had also faced at one point “perception issues”, he noted, even though it had been due largely to the coronavirus spreading in dormitories here.

“When Singapore was having hundreds of Covid-19 cases every day, we were still living life quite normally because we know that in our community, the number of cases is low,” he said.

“The truth is there are different segments and different geography in most countries.”

Exclusive: Ong Ye Kung on S’pore allowing visitors from China, Australia’s Victoria | THE BIG STORY More on this topic   Related Story Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble important test for leisure travel, says Ong Ye Kung Mr Ong added that Singapore’s decision on which countries to have travel arrangements with are backed by analyses by healthcare professionals in the Ministry of Health. Among factors that are studied include a country’s level of contact tracing and safe distancing measures.

Mr Ong said he personally checks on the number of Covid-19 cases in several countries daily.

He stressed that it was critical for Singapore to continue to open up its skies even in the current climate.

“If you cut off air connection, we are strangled,” he said.

“This is not just about economic growth; this is about making sure that we still have a strong airport, making sure that we still have Singapore Airlines… and making sure that Singapore continues to exist.”

More on this topic   Related Story Singapore to allow travellers from China, Australia’s Victoria from Nov 6; no quarantine if Covid-19 test negative   Related Story S’pore opens borders to China, Australia’s Victoria from Nov 6: What other travel arrangements does S’pore have?   Related Stories:  Related Story No Covid-19 cases in community or in S’pore migrant worker dormitories for 2 days in a row Related Story Japan tops 100,000 coronavirus cases, daily infections creep up Related Story Record 200 days with no local cases makes Taiwan envy of world Related Story Covid-19 breathalyser tests may be deployed more widely in trials here Related Story India passes bleak landmark of 8 million coronavirus infections Related Story Trump wrested control from doctors as pandemic grew, Kushner told interviewer Related Story Melbourne, a city locked down for three months, has bleak lessons for the world Related Story As winter looms, China braces for Covid-19 resurgence Related Story Australia in travel talks with Singapore, Japan, Korea as coronavirus cases ease Related Story Interactive: How the world lost one million lives to Covid-19 Sign up for our daily updates here and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

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