SINGAPORE: A new business travel pass for selected senior executives based in Singapore is being piloted to enable them to fulfill overseas work responsibilities.
Travellers using this pass have to follow a strict itinerary and abide by various public health measures, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday (Sep 23).
The pilot initiative is ongoing and the authorities have already begun issuing these new business travel passes in groups to manage the risks.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. CAN I APPLY FOR THIS PASS?
The pass is currently not open for applications as the scheme is still in its pilot phase. Instead, limited numbers are being progressively issued to those who meet the criteria.
According to the GoBusiness website, Government and economic agencies are identifying a list of senior executives in Singapore with international or regional responsibilities who travel regularly for official and business purposes.
READ: COVID-19: Singapore to pilot business travel pass for senior executives with regional, international responsibilities
Approval is also given only if the authorities are satisfied that the individual will comply with the stringent public health requirements and safeguards.
GoBusiness said pre-identifying travellers through the economic agencies allows the authorities to monitor these individuals closely and contact them quickly in the event that the parameters of the travel pass need to be adjusted.
2. MUST THESE TRAVELLERS SERVE A STAY-HOME NOTICE?
Upon returning to Singapore, these travellers will undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test in lieu of serving a stay-home notice. These individuals will be required to self-isolate until the test results are out.
In order to limit the potential public health risk, GoBusiness said only a small number of travel passes will be issued during the pilot phase.
Under current measures, travellers can already take a pre-departure PCR test in lieu of a stay-home notice under the Singapore-China Fast Lane and when coming to Singapore from Brunei and New Zealand.
3. WHAT PROTOCOLS MUST I TAKE NOTE OF?
Individuals on this business pass must follow a strict controlled itinerary when they travel overseas for work. They will be required to submit an itinerary of their meetings and activities, a list of the venues they visit and information on the contacts they meet.
Before returning to Singapore, they must complete a health declaration to confirm that they do not have any symptoms and have not encountered anyone infected with COVID-19.
Upon arrival in Singapore, they will take a PCR test at their own cost and must self-isolate until they obtain a negative test result.
GoBusiness also said these travellers must use TraceTogether and avoid all forms of public transport within 14 days of return. Those who breach these health protocols will be removed from the pilot and have their travel pass revoked.
4. WHERE CAN PASS HOLDERS TRAVEL TO?
Senior executives will be able to travel to a range of countries as this business pass is not country specific. However, travellers must still comply with any measures imposed by the countries they are visiting, as this travel pass does not supersede any international restrictions.
READ: With the coronavirus still in our midst, what does the future hold for the workplace?
Multi-ministry taskforce co-chair Lawrence Wong said on Wednesday that reciprocal bilateral green lane conditions would also apply.
Singapore currently has cross-border travel arrangements with China, Malaysia, Brunei, Japan and South Korea. It has also said it will begin discussions on a reciprocal green lane with Indonesia.
5. WHEN WILL WE FIND OUT IF THE PILOT IS SUCCESSFUL?
There is currently no fixed timeline for the business travel pass pilot scheme. GoBusiness said public health remains the priority and careful monitoring of this pilot is needed before any further decisions are made.
The authorities will consider expanding the scheme in a safe and calibrated manner if the pilot is successful and public health measures are fully abided by, said Mr Wong.
BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and its developments
Download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak: https://cna.asia/telegram