Business and official travellers on Singapore-China 'fast lane' arrangement must get COVID-19 swab tests

Business and official travellers on Singapore-China 'fast lane' arrangement must get COVID-19 swab tests

The Singapore-China "fast lane" arrangement will start on Jun 8, and approved travellers must take a COVID-19 swab test within 48 hours before departure. Deborah Wong explains how it works.

SINGAPORE: The Singapore-China "fast lane" arrangement will start on Jun 8, and approved travellers must take a COVID-19 swab test within 48 hours before departure.  

Users of the fast lane between China and Singapore will bear the cost of the pre-departure polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, and obtain a certificate of having tested negative for the coronavirus. 

In addition, travellers must adhere to a controlled itinerary that is supervised by the host company or government agency for the first 14 days, announced Singapore's Foreign Affairs Ministry (MFA) and Trade and Industry Ministry (MTI) in a joint statement on Wednesday (Jun 3).

"The traveller may not use public transportation for this purpose, with the exception of private hire cars/taxis or cohorted company transport," they added. 

Authorities had announced on May 29 that Singapore and China have agreed to a "fast lane" arrangement which would facilitate essential travel for business and official purposes between the two countries. 

For a start, this arrangement will be for travel between Singapore and six Chinese provinces or municipalities - Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

READ: Singapore, China to launch 'fast lane' arrangement with COVID-19 measures for essential business, official travel

MANDATORY ISOLATION WHILE WAITING FOR TEST RESULTS

Users of the Singapore-China “fast lane” need not be quarantined but must remain isolated for one to two days while waiting for COVID-19 test results.

"An approved applicant travelling from Singapore to China will undergo a PCR test and serology test after arrival in China at his/her own cost, and remain in locations designated by the local provincial or municipal government for one to two days until the test result is released," said MFA and MTI.

Singapore residents who wish to make essential travel to China via the fast lane must be sponsored by either a company or a government agency in China, which will file an application with the local provincial or municipal authorities.

Once approved, they can then apply for a visa from the Chinese Embassy in Singapore, as well as submit a health declaration to the Chinese authorities.

Meanwhile, residents in China seeking to make essential travel to Singapore via the fast lane must be sponsored by either a company or a Singapore government agency, which will file an application on behalf of the applicant for a SafeTravel Pass. 

When the SafeTravel Pass application is approved, an approval letter will be issued to the applicant, as well as the sponsoring company or government agency.

COMPULSORY USE OF CONTACT TRACING APPS

For inbound travel to Singapore, business or official travellers sponsored by government agencies may submit applications through their respective sponsors from Jun 8.

Applications for company-sponsored travellers can be submitted in a later phase.

Those travelling into Singapore will also have to take a PCR test upon arrival and remain in isolation for one to two days until the test result is known. The accommodation, which must be self-sourced, cannot be a residential address.

Travellers are required to use contact tracing mobile app TraceTogether for the duration of their stay, while Singapore residents travelling into China will have to use the country's local Health QR code during their stay. 

Travellers from Singapore who need to travel between fast lane regions in China within 14 days of arrival must get advance approval from the provincial or municipal government of the next destination, through the government agency or company hosting them. 

They will only be allowed to travel outside the six fast lane regions after 14 days, and should adhere to prevailing measures in China. 

READ: Singapore Airlines, SilkAir reinstate flights for some destinations in June and July

"MUTUAL ASSURANCE"

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Trade and Industry permanent secretary Gabriel Lim stated Singapore is in negotiations with a number of other countries and regions to establish similar "reciprocal green lane" (RGL) arrangements.

Mr Lim noted that China is one of Singapore's biggest trading partners, and that the country is one of the largest sources of foreign investment in China. 

"There are thousands of people working in each other’s economy. There are even more people who travel for official and business reasons between the two countries. This is the important reason why we have put in place the RGL arrangement with China," he said. 

READ: Singapore to gradually reopen borders, plans to resume essential travel among countries with low COVID-19 transmission rate

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry taskforce tackling COVID-19, said last month that the Government is in talks to establish "travel bubbles" with countries where the spread of COVID-19 is under control.

MFA had also earlier said Singapore would begin discussions with New Zealand on the gradual reopening of borders, following a virtual meeting between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern.

"As Singapore contains the COVID-19 situation on the health front, we must maintain our global connectivity to sustain our economic capacities and capabilities, built up painstakingly over the decades," said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing in a Facebook post on Wednesday. 

"Mutual assurance and confidence to put in place effective COVID-19 prevention and control measures are important in such fast lane arrangements, and I look forward to making progress with more countries in our bilateral discussions," he added. 


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Source: CNA/az(gs)

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