The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) is prepared to consider appeals for swab test arrangements in place of the 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) for returning fast lane users, said the Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing in a Facebook post on Monday (15 June).
The announcement came after the Multi-Ministry Taskforce decided to start Phase Two after 18 June.
“While many have welcomed the establishment of the Singapore-China fast lane arrangements, some have asked if it is possible to have alternate arrangements to the 14-day SHN,” Mr Chan wrote.
The Minister noted that appeals can be made via email to MTI, adding that travellers must abide by the protocols that have been put in place to manage the risk of imported cases of COVID-19.
“On a case-by-case basis, the Ministry of Trade and Industry is prepared to consider appeals for swab test arrangements in place of the 14-day SHN for returning fast lane users,” he asserted.
Earlier on 8 June, Singapore and China launched a “fast lane” arrangement to facilitate essential travel for business and official purposes.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the arrangement includes having COVID-19 control measures in place and it involves Singapore and six Chine provinces or municipalities – Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.
“Both sides attached great significance to securing the connectivity of production and supply chains, and agreed to level up the efficiency of freight linkages and customs clearance, including facilitating the flow of goods such as essential medical supplies and food,” it said.
Travellers who are approved will go through COVID-19 swab test within 48 hours before departure and upon arrival. They will not be placed under quarantine after arriving in Singapore but are required to remain isolated for one to two days while waiting for the COVID-19 results.
Additionally, travellers must comply with a controlled itinerary that is supervised by the host company or Government agency for the first two weeks.
On the other hand, Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders returning to Singapore from China will be issued with a 14-day SHN.
Netizens opposed reopening borders, asked why returning fast lane travellers are spared from SHN
Following Mr Chan’s announcement on Facebook, netizens penned their thoughts on Channel News Asia Facebook post – covering the Minister’s statement – and it seems that many of them opposed the idea of reopening the country’s borders at Phase Two.
A few netizens commented that the Government should be firm with the rules, but instead, it allows people to “go around the rules” with appeals.
Meanwhile, some netizens questioned why other travellers need to serve 14-day SHN while returning fast lane travellers are only required to undergo COVID-19 swab test and are spared from serving the SHN.
Others asked why the Singapore Government only opens its fast lane arrangement to China.