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Singapore forges ahead with reopening of economy amid COVID-19

Singapore has crossed a new milestone with 80 per cent of its population fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as at end-August, further progressing the Republic’s economic reopening plans.

According to a tracker by Reuters, this means that Singapore has the world’s highest number of complete vaccinations following the start of its vaccination campaign in January.

As the global economy picks up, the city-state “still welcomes, facilitates and protects foreign investments,” said Mr Ong Ye Kung, the country’s Health Minister, at a closed-door dialogue session with members of the European Chamber of Commerce, Singapore (EuroCham Singapore).

“People value us because the city is well-governed; everything works; we are stable, secure and safe; and above all, because we take care of everyone in Singapore, even in a pandemic.”

Mr Ong Ye Kung

Minister for Health of Singapore

His comments echoed those of his colleague, Mr Lawrence Wong, Singapore’s Finance Minister. He pointed out during an interview with the BBC that the country’s gradual reopening is targeted at preserving its status as a connected business hub.

“We remain welcoming to talent, to investments, and we will continue to do so because that’s so essential to Singapore’s survival and the ability to thrive as a nation. Being open, staying open… It’s existential for Singapore.”

Mr Lawrence Wong

Minister for Finance of Singapore

He added that despite the challenges brought upon by the pandemic, the Republic secured S$17.2 billion in fixed asset investments in 2020, the highest since 2008.

The country recently announced a series of measures to allow for more business and leisure travel . This is part of a plan to gradually reopen borders as Singapore transitions toward becoming a COVID-19-resilient nation.

Countries or regions will be classified into four categories, each with its own set of differentiated measures. From 8 September, Singapore will also pilot Vaccinated Travel Lanes, enabling quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated passengers. This initiative will begin with travellers from Brunei and Germany.

“The vaccinated travel lanes with Germany and Brunei mark a measured start to the resumption of air travel with an essential set of safeguards. We have chosen to start with these two countries based on overall risk and operational assessments,” said Singapore’s Transport Minister S. Iswaran during a press briefing.

As the Republic continues to work towards a cautious but steady reopening, it aims to remain open and connected to the rest of the world.

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