Singapore-China to launch ‘fast lane’ for essential travel early next month

SINGAPORE, May 30: Singapore and China will launch a “fast lane” arrangement early next month to facilitate essential travel for business and official purposes between the two countries, as they emerge from the coronavirus pandemic with control measures in place, according to a media report.
The arrangement would first apply to Singapore and six provinces or municipalities directly under the Chinese central government — Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Friday night, the The Straits Times reported.
This arrangement will be gradually expanded to the other Chinese provinces and municipalities.
Both countries agreed to explore the increase of air links between them as part of the fast lane, following a video conference meeting between Chee Wee Kiong, Permanent Secretary of Singapore’s MFA, and China’s Vice-Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui on Thursday.
The two countries stressed the importance of securing the connectivity of production and supply chains, and agreed to improve the efficiency of freight linkages and customs clearance, including facilitating the flow of goods such as essential medical supplies and food, according to The Straits Times report.
Singapore will soon relax its circuit breaker measures, starting from June 2, and gradually resume economic and social activities.
Singapore’s National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force on COVID-19, had said on Thursday that resuming essential travel was being considered.
The city state is working on reopening its borders – establishing “travel bubbles” with countries where the virus situation is under control and having green lane travel arrangements with certain countries.
“The conversations and discussions we’re having with countries vary; some (are) at more advanced stages, some we’re just starting,” Wong had said of resuming travelling.
Regular travels were stopped and operations were suspended at two terminals of the four-terminal Singapore’s Changi Airport amid the COVID-19 crisis. (PTI)