As part of Singapore's efforts to re-open borders, a new initiative for facilitating facilitate essential global business exchanges has been announced. 

The initiative, Connect@Singapore was announced yesterday (15 December) by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing. This will complement other existing travel lanes such as the Reciprocal Green Lane.

Connect@Singapore will be open to a limited number of business, official, and high economic value travellers from all countries who are coming to Singapore for short-term stays of up to 14 days.

Applications will open in the middle of January 2021 and the first travellers will be able to arrive from the second half of January 2021.

To protect travellers and the local community, strict health and testing protocols will be implemented.

For instance, travellers entering the country under this initiative will be housed in a “bubble” within dedicated facilities, undergo regular testing, and strictly observe all prevailing Safe Management Measures (SMMs).

Enhanced testing regime 

Travellers under this initiative will have to present a valid negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test prior to leaving their home country, obtain a PCR test on arrival in Singapore, and Antigen Rapid Tests (ART) every two days, (on days 3, 5, 7, and 11, etc.) as the traveller remains accommodated in the facility.

Travellers to be separated from other individuals

Travellers entering Singapore under the initiative will be required to stay within a “bubble” at appointed facilities. These facilities will have to put in place measures to separate travellers under this initiative from other individuals.

For example, while travellers will be allowed to meet with local visitors, there will be floor-to-ceiling dividers separating travellers from local visitors. Staff working in the appointed facilities will undergo routine testing.

Travellers to stay within their predeclared travel group

Within the appointed facilities, travellers will have to stay within their predeclared travel group of up to five travellers. They will not be allowed to mingle with other travellers outside of this group. They will also have to abide by all prevailing national SMMs, and use Trace Together and Safe Entry.

Singapore government to appoint facilities under the Connect@Singapore initiative

MTI has been working with Connect@Changi on its possible appointment as a facility under the Connect@Singapore initiative.

A collaboration between Temasek and The Ascott Limited, Changi Airport Group, Sheares Healthcare Group, SingEx and Surbana Jurong, Connect@Changi will incorporate a rigorous COVID-19 testing regime for guest travellers, and deploy innovative solutions to minimise contact between guests and frontline staff, such as self-service meeting rooms.

Guests can meet their local and international counterparts safely in specially designed meeting rooms outfitted with air-tight glass panels, reducing the risk of transmission.

As a living laboratory, Connect@Changi will feature various initiatives related to COVID-19, such as wastewater testing for early detection, latest rapid point-of-care tests to complement established lab-based tests, and automated contact tracing within the facility. MTI plans to appoint additional facilities in the next few weeks.

Facility operators interested in participating in the Connect@Singapore initiative may submit their proposals through the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) no later than 31 December 2020. STB will be releasing more information on the application in due course.

Photo / 123RF

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