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Health

Singapore to trial business traveller pass as virus curbs ease

FILE PHOTO: A woman poses as she shows the recline of a business class seat during a tour of SilkAir's new aircraft, the Boeing 737 Max 8 at Changi Airport in Singapore October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore will pilot a new travel pass for senior executives in the city-state who need to travel regularly for business, authorities said Wednesday, as they further eased some coronavirus-related restrictions.

The number of passes will be limited initially, and travellers must stick to their declared itinerary, the government said. Upon return, pass holders must self-isolate while awaiting results of a swab test, instead of undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine at home or at a hotel.

The country has recorded over 57,000 coronavirus cases overall, mostly among workers living in dormitories. The vast majority of those infected have since recovered.

Singapore, a regional travel hub, is home to the Asian headquarters of many global companies whose executives have long relied on the city-state’s connectivity. It has reciprocal business travel arrangements with a handful of countries, including China, Japan and neighbouring Malaysia.

“The idea is to be able to allow senior executives who are based in Singapore with extensive regional or international responsibilities to have a bit more flexibility to travel for their work reasons,” Lawrence Wong, co-head of Singapore’s virus taskforce, told a media briefing.

However, those travellers must comply with the policies of the countries they are visiting, he added.

Authorities also said that while working from home remained the default for Singapore, more employees will be allowed to return to workplaces with some precautions.

Among other easing measures, Singapore will from next month increase the limits on attendance numbers at weddings and in cinemas.

Over the next few weeks, the government will look at how to further ease restrictions, including permitting travel with countries it deems safe and allowing more people to meet socially, Wong said.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Martin Petty

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