Singapore is planning to launch a special travel lane allowing business travellers from around the world to enter the country. The Connect@Singapore initiative will be ‘open to a limited number of business, official, and high-economic-value travellers from all countries who are coming to Singapore for short-term stays of up to 14 days’, Chan Chun Sing, the country's Minister for Trade and Industry, has said.
Due to be rolled out in early 2021
The new scheme comes after the Hong Kong-Singapore air bubble was postponed due to a spike in Covid-19 case numbers in Hong Kong. Applications for the initiative, which aims to boost Singapore’s global reputation and ‘facilitate essential business exchanges in the Covid-19 environment’ while also supporting the recovery of its economy, will be open from mid-January 2021 for interested travellers.
Facility operators interested in participating are invited to submit their proposals to the Singapore Tourism Board by the deadline of the 31 December 2020.
Under the arrangement, business travellers will need to stay at an appointed facility under the Connect@Singapore initiative, undergo regular routine testing and strictly observe all prevailing Safe Management Measures, Chan explained.
Extensive health screening for business travellers
For the entire duration of their stay, these travellers will be housed in a ‘bubble’ within the appointed facilities, the Singapore Safe Travel website explains. “Travellers will have to present a valid negative Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test prior to leaving their home country and obtain a negative result for a PCR test that is administered on arrival in Singapore. They will also undergo regular Antigen Rapid Tests (ART) and are required to strictly observe all prevailing Safe Management Measures during their stay.”
Health and safety-centric schemes are emerging as a leading facilitator of travel as 2020 comes to a close, especially within the business travel sphere, where duty of care is – and always has been – of extreme importance for companies looking to protect their employees.