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Singapore's health ministry on Saturday announced the resumption of travel for India and certain other countries, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, from 26 October. 

“All travellers with a 14-day travel history to Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka prior to departure to Singapore will be allowed to enter and transit through Singapore from 11.59 pm on Oct 26," Singapore's Strait Times quoted its health ministry. 

However, the ministry also stated these travellers will be undergoing the tightest of the quarantine rules. As per the statement, “travellers from these countries will be subject to Category IV border measures. They will still be required to serve their 10-day stay-home notice (SHN) at dedicated SHN facilities."

The ministry said in a release that it has reviewed the Covid-19 situation in the six South Asian countries it was previously closed off to.

Addressing a virtual press conference, health minister Ong Ye Kung said the situation in these countries has stabilised for some time.

"There is no longer a need for strict rules that prevent travellers from these countries from landing here," the Straits Times quoted Ong as saying.

Earlier, Singapore had allowed fully-vaccinated travellers from 15 more countries to enter without having to quarantine in dedicated facilities. They include Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates.

Singapore also allowed entry to more domestic workers on condition that they are fully vaccinated before arrival to meet urgent needs of local households. 

It has also announced several new measures taken by the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19.

The announcements came after the task force said on Wednesday that the tighter curbs currently in place - including restricting group sizes for dining in to two people - will be extended for a month till November 21, 2021, the Straits Times reported. Among these, from Jan 1, 2022, only employees who are fully vaccinated, or have recovered from Covid-19 within the past 270 days, can return to the workplace.

“Unvaccinated employees will not be allowed to return to the workplace unless they have tested negative for Covid-19 before returning, and they will need to pay for the costs of these tests," MOH said, as per the report.

Singapore elected to start reopening and to shift from targeting zero cases once its vaccination rate topped 80%. But infections started climbing soon after some curbs were eased in August. The city-state this week decided to keep virus restrictions in place for another month and warned the current wave could challenge its health-care system.

Meanwhile, Singapore recorded 3,598 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total tally to 169,261, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a press release.

Of the new cases, 2,804 were reported in the community and 790 in migrant worker dormitories while four were imported cases.

As of Friday, 84 percent of Singapore's population have been fully vaccinated, and 85 percent have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Back in India, a senior civil aviation ministry official has indicated that the government is unlikely to lift the restrictions on international flights immediately, saying current frequencies under air bubble arrangements are adequate to meet the demand.

Scheduled international passenger flights to and from India remain suspended since March last year amid the coronavirus pandemic. India has air bubble arrangements with more than 25 countries for operating international flights.

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