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Singapore and Taiwan in talks about possible travel bubble: Reports

Singapore and Taiwan in talks about possible travel bubble: Reports

People walk past a Taiwanese flag amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Taipei, Taiwan, August 10, 2020. REUTERS/Ann Wang/Files

Singapore and Taiwan are in talks about a possible travel bubble, Taiwan’s Health Minister Chen Shih-chung reportedly said on Thursday (Mar 18).

Singapore relaxed restrictions on arrivals from Taiwan in December, allowing travellers from the island to go about their activities without serving a stay-home notice if they test negative for COVID-19 upon arrival.

READ: Singapore to unilaterally lift border restrictions to travellers from Taiwan from Dec 18

Since then, Singaporean authorities have pushed for a reciprocal policy in Taiwan, Mr Chen was reported as saying by Focus Taiwan.

The two sides are in discussions but no formal proposal has been made yet, several Taiwanese media outlets reported.

Taiwan News reported on Thursday that Taiwan’s transport minister Lin Chia-lung said the island is discussing travel bubbles with several countries, including Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.

The Pacific nation of Palau announced an air travel bubble with Taiwan earlier this week, with the travel bubble set to kick off on Apr 1. Palau has not recorded a single case of COVID-19, while Taiwan has reported 990 cases and 10 deaths.

TAIWAN A "VERY SAFE PARTNER"

In an interview with CNA in December, Singapore's Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said Taiwan is a "very safe partner to do a unilateral opening" with.  

He also noted that Taiwan had unilaterally reduced the quarantine period for essential business travellers from Singapore to five days.

"That is the most relaxed rule they have imposed on any traveller and which they accorded Singapore as the lowest risk country," said Mr Ong then.

"So with this unilateral opening, I think it's not bad. As a business traveller, you can go to Taiwan with five days quarantine. And then when you return with a test, there's no need for SHN (stay-home notice). So it's possible, hopefully we'll get a bit more to and fro between the two places."

Singapore had established an air travel bubble with Hong Kong that was originally scheduled to begin on Nov 22. It was later suspended due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong.

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Source: CNA/vc

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