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Singapore open border policy tested as imported Covid-19 cases soar

There were 260 imported covid-19 cases reported as of noon on Jan. 1, compared to 187 community infections, according to data released by Singapore health ministry (Photo: iStock)Premium
There were 260 imported covid-19 cases reported as of noon on Jan. 1, compared to 187 community infections, according to data released by Singapore health ministry (Photo: iStock)

Singapore reported more Covid-19 infections among travelers from abroad than local cases for the first time in nearly half a year, testing the resolve of the country to keep its borders open amid the worldwide spread of the omicron variant

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Singapore reported more Covid-19 infections among travelers from abroad than local cases for the first time in nearly half a year, testing the resolve of the country to keep its borders open amid the worldwide spread of the omicron variant.

There were 260 imported cases reported as of noon on Jan. 1, compared to 187 community infections, according to data released by the health ministry. The last time Covid-19 cases among travelers surpassed local infections was on July 12. 

While Singapore has chosen to freeze ticket sales via its vaccinated travel lanes until late January, the business hub’s decision to maintain quarantine-free travel for vaccinated people from several countries, including omicron hotspots such as the UK and US, is increasingly being tested. Other nations including Thailand halted quarantine-free entry to prevent the spread of the new variant.

So far, officials in the city-state have also elected to tighten testing requirements for visitors and defer other travel initiatives, while keeping strict domestic virus measures in place, as local clusters of the omicron variant emerge. 

Singapore is also depending on further vaccinating what is already one of the most inoculated populations in the world to fend of a potential new wave. About 20,000 children have received their first shot since the vaccination drive for them started on Dec. 27, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said in a Facebook post on Sunday.

 

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