Singapore reopens borders after two years of Covid closure – Manila Bulletin
SINGAPORE, Singapore — Singapore fully reopened its borders to all vaccinated visitors on Friday after a two-year coronavirus shutdown, with arrivals saying it was “wonderful” to travel again without onerous restrictions.
The aviation hub, a key gateway for people arriving in Asia, joins other countries in the region that have recently dropped travel restrictions as they look to life with Covid-19 .
Previously, only travelers from a handful of locations could enter Singapore without quarantine, but from Friday all vaccinated arrivals only need a negative Covid test.
The city-state’s Changi Airport was buzzing with activity as passengers streamed out of the arrivals area, while hundreds lined up in the departures area for trips out of Singapore.
“It’s wonderful,” Aldo Pizzini, a 63-year-old Italian businessman from Milan, told AFP.
“I took the first opportunity to fly today, (now) that a lot of the restrictions are lifted… We are getting back to normality.”
Diana Mathias, originally from French Guiana and living in Abu Dhabi, was visiting Singapore for a holiday with her mother.
“I feel really happy because it’s been a long time since I’ve flown,” she said.
The 38-year-old said she was “a little stressed” about doing a lot of paperwork to travel again, but ultimately found the process “really easy”.
Borders also fully reopened in neighboring Malaysia on Friday, and thousands of cars and motorbikes flooded a one kilometer (0.6 mile) causeway that separates it from Singapore.
The causeway, one of the busiest land borders in the world, had already partially reopened last year, although some curbs are still in place.
The main airport serving Kuala Lumpur was crowded with the arrival of foreign tourists.
Previously tourists were not allowed to enter Malaysia, a popular destination due to its white sandy beaches and lush rainforests, but vaccinated travelers can now do so with only a negative Covid test.
Bo Lingam – group CEO of major regional carrier AirAsia, based in Malaysia – predicted an “increase” in the number of people flying.
The reopening of borders is “a joy for me and our AirAsia staff who have faced a lot of hardship during the pandemic,” he told AFP.
“Starting today, it’s about flying the blue skies and ending our planes sitting on the tarmac.”
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