All through 2020, Singapore was a success story in the face of the pandemic. It had low cases, strict measures, and mostly closed borders, so it showed better results in a world that was being leveled by COVID-19. It faced a setback last month when community spread increased the virus load, but the city-state is hopeful that things will be under control by September.
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong is expecting to ease curbs imposed on its citizens and reopen the country by September. “Singapore will establish travel corridors with countries or regions where COVID-19 is under control, and those who are vaccinated may not have to quarantine or may be allowed to isolate at home,” he said.
Fully vaccinated individuals may be allowed to dine-in at restaurants and enter the country without 14-day mandatory quarantine, but social distancing measures will still stand. The authorities will review the situation later this month. “We will ensure that these [health outcomes] remain acceptable and stable, before we proceed to the next step. But if hospitalization cases—or worse, severe illnesses—were to shoot up, we will have to be prepared to slow down, or even pull back,” he was quoted saying.
According to the Ministry of Health, 77% of Singapore’s population has received a dose of either Pfizer or Moderna, while 62% are fully vaccinated. By September, the country expects to get 80% of the 5.7 million people to be inoculated.
On July 22, Singapore had heightened restrictions again after a jump in COVID cases. Dining at restaurants was banned; indoor exercises that required masks to be removed were stopped; the number of people allowed to gather was reduced to two from five; and events and performances were scaled-down, among other things.
On August 2, it reported more than 100 new cases, while just a month ago, the island’s caseload was in single digits.
No Quarantine in These Asian Destinations
Europe is increasingly easing restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers, but Asia has been slow to recover. Still, travelers can travel to the Maldives and Thailand without quarantine. There are many other restrictions though.
The Maldives has seen a flurry of travelers in 2020 and 2021, even as countries closed their borders for leisure travel. Americans can plan a getaway on a private island without worrying about quarantine. Tourists are required to have a negative test report and anyone exhibiting symptoms will be tested. The Maldives offers a 30-day tourist visa on arrival. You can find additional details here.
Thailand is also testing quarantine-free travel from low-risk and medium-risk countries. On July 1, the country launched the Phuket SandBox as a pilot that allowed fully vaccinated travelers to skip quarantine, but they had to comply with other rules: RT-PCR test before arrival and during stay in Phuket; proof of payment for a 14-day stay or confirmed departure flights; Certificate of Entry from the Thai Embassy; travel insurance; and a stay at SHA+ accredited hotel in Phuket. Following Phuket, the program will be extended to other destinations. You can read more about Thailand’s plans to reopen here.