But as Germany is already open to people arriving from Singapore, no matter if they are vaccinated or not, the island nation’s decision will effectively establish a long-awaited transcontinental travel bubble.
“The current situation is not sustainable. As a small and open economy, Singapore’s survival and success depends critically on being open and connected to the world,” Singapore Transport Minister S Iswaran said.
“We are re-opening in a careful and calibrated way … step by step.“
The link is being established despite Germany reporting 8324 new infections of the virus and 22 deaths on Wednesday.
They are the European nation’s highest case figures in nearly three months but while the numbers have been rising, the vaccine rate there has reportedly had an impact in terms of limiting hospitalisations.
Nearly 64 per cent of people in Germany have had at least one dose and 58 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Singapore also announced on Thursday that it would be starting a vaccinated flight lane with nearby Brunei on September 8.
Iswaran said Germany and Brunei had been chosen for the pilot program based on “overall risk and operational assessments” . It will be gradually extended to other countries if it proves successful but to begin will not involve children under 12, who are not part of Singapore’s national vaccination scheme.
Singapore reported 29 new infections on Thursday including 13 that were unlinked but with admissions to intensive care units decreasing, it last week began resuming freedoms for vaccinated people such as eating out and working out at gyms.
Its re-opening could still be paused or wound back, however, if cases soar and hospitalisations accelerate, particularly with young children unvaccinated and vulnerable to infection in a major outbreak.
“We should be under no illusion that the road ahead will be an easy one,” said Singapore Finance Minister Lawrence Wong.
“The path towards being a COVID-resilient nation is going to be a long and hard slog. Even with high vaccination rates, we are not going to reach herd immunity. We must be mentally prepared that cases will rise.“
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