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Singapore to allow travellers to transit through Changi Airport from Jun 2

Press Trust of India  |  Singapore 

Singapore will gradually allow travellers to transit through Changi Airport from June 2 but under stringent measures while preparing to ease some COVID-19 restrictions and reopen its borders, according to a media report.

Stringent measures will be put in place to ensure that the passengers remain in designated facilities in the transit area and do not mix with other passengers at the airport, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on Wednesday.

Airport staff will also be required to wear personal protective equipment when interacting with passengers, the Channel Asia reported on Wednesday.

Existing precautionary measures, such as safe distancing, temperature taking for passengers and staff, will continue to be enforced, said the authority.

Currently, foreign passengers are only allowed to transit through Singapore if they are on repatriation flights arranged by their respective governments.

The Health Ministry on Tuesday said that Singapore will gradually reopen its borders with safeguards in place, to allow Singaporeans to conduct essential activities abroad and for foreigners to enter and transit through the country.

Airlines should submit their proposals for transfer lanes through Changi Airport, said CAAS.

It added that the proposals will be evaluated taking into account aviation safety, public health considerations, as well as the health of passengers and air crew.

"This is part of Singapore's strategy to gradually reopen air transport to meet the needs of our economy and our people, whilst ensuring sufficient safeguards for safe travel," said the aviation authority.

Singapore closed its airport and other travel links as part of a precautionary measure to control the spread of coronavirus under the circuit breaker which ends on June 1. The CAAS announcement came after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore cannot remain closed and was re-opening in gradual phases.

"(The) battle against Covid-19 is far from over. That is why we are reopening in gradual phases, with (food and beverage) dine-ins only allowed after we are confident that community transmission will stay low," he said.

But Lee cautioned. "We have seen other countries that have opened up experiencing a resurgence of cases. All it takes is a single infected person to create a new cluster," the prime minister said.

Lee did not name the countries he was referring to.

Germany, South Korea and China have had a degree of resurgence in virus cases after they lifted some lockdown measures.

Lee said: "We cannot stay closed forever, so we have to get used to a new normal, adjusting our routines to live and work safely despite this global pandemic."

Lee also said that the circuit breaker has worked to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

But Singapore cannot revert to the status quo ante, he added.

Lee in a Facebook post said that people have to get used to a new normal, as returning to the previous state of affairs is not possible.

The city-state managed to keep its outbreak in check in the early stages but was hit by a second wave of infections, mainly affecting migrant workers in crowded dormitories.

Singapore has reported over 29,000 infections including 22 deaths.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 20 2020. 21:11 IST