SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): A new business travel pass is being piloted for senior executives in Singapore with regional or international responsibilities who need to travel overseas regularly for official and business purposes.
Travellers on this pass, which is not country-specific, will be required to abide by a strict controlled itinerary when they travel abroad for work, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a statement on Wednesday (Sept 23).
Upon return, the traveller will be given the option of doing a Covid-19 test in lieu of a stay-home notice (SHN) and self-isolate until the test results are out, it added.
The ministry said the number of passes will be strictly limited in the initial phase to ensure that public health outcomes of this pilot can be monitored.
“If the pilot is successful, and public health measures are fully abided by, we will consider expanding the scheme in a safe and calibrated manner,” said MOH.
The latest announcement comes after the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19 in Singapore said in June that studies were being done to see how business travel can be facilitated in a safe and calibrated manner.
Task force co-chair Lawrence Wong said during a virtual press conference on Wednesday (Sept 23) that more details will be shared by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
But in essence, the travel pass will allow a traveller to visit “quite a wide range of countries”, said Wong, who is also Minister for Education.
“It’s not going to be country-specific; we will allow those with the travel pass to be able to travel.
“But of course, these travellers will have to comply with whatever travel restrictions or measures that are in place in that country that they are visiting,” he added.
There may also be other restrictions under other travel schemes, such as bilateral travel arrangements like the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) schemes, that travellers have to pay heed to, added Wong.
Under the RGL arrangements that Singapore has with Malaysia, Brunei and Japan, travellers must, for example, undergo pre-departure and post-arrival Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction tests, and abide by a pre-declared controlled itinerary during their visit, among other requirements.
Wong said the new business travel pass being piloted will not supersede these restrictions.
“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,” said Wong. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network