Things that Could Happen During Phase 3 in Singapore
We have come this far. COVID-19 cases in Singapore has remained stable. Just two weeks ago, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM)Heng Swee Keat announced that the multi-ministry task force would release plans regarding Phase 3. As Singapore’s economy prepares to take it up a notch, here are what Tropika Club’s thinks will happen during Phase 3 in Singapore.
- Cautiously Optimistic
- What Phase 3 in Singapore Could Look Like
- Why It Could Be Important to Have Phase 3 in Singapore
Singapore’s gradual re-opening is already well underway. On September 28, the government allowed more people to return to workplaces, though with safety management measures in place. To reduce crowding at common spaces and public transport, employers have to implement flexible working hours for their employees, so they can travel to the workplace outside of peak periods.
Also, the Ministry of Health (MOH) began piloting a new business travel pass for senior executives with regional or international responsibilities. Just over the weekend, the National Library Board announced that more library services will resume on Tuesday.
But there’s a still a sense of unease in the air. The flights and cruises to nowhere only garnered a mixed response at best, and Singapore Airlines even dropped the idea of having flights to nowhere. And so the government laid out a cautious approach to re-opening, employing a four-pronged strategy:
- Securing early access to effective vaccines
- Enhancing testing capabilities
- Conducting swift contact tracing and isolation of infected individuals
- Adhering to safe management measures
What Phase 3 in Singapore Could Look Like
You Get to Hang Out in Bigger Groups
Social butterflies rejoice! The limit of having only 5 persons per group could be increased, letting you spend more quality time with more people. But this isn’t the good old times just yet. Everyone should still be vigilant, adhere to safety guidelines, and of course, wash their hands.
Expanded arrangements for business and official travellers
If the pilot program for business travellers underway yields results, we could see the government expand regional and international travel arrangements. More employees could be included in the extension as well, which helps global businesses resume essential cross-border activities.
Currently, there are already bilateral green lanes up and running between Singapore and countries such as Brunei, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia. Soon, we could be seeing more green lanes open up.
Travel bubbles with more cities and countries
With Singapore being one of the most well-heeled of ASEAN countries, we could expect the government to ease restriction for leisure travel as well. Singapore is already raring to go, agreeing to set up the world’s first travel bubble with Hong Kong. That allows people to travel between Singapore and Hong Kong on dedicated flights without serving a quarantine or though travellers would need to test negative for COVID-19.
And more could be coming soon as Singapore revs up its aviation hub again. The government is considering new travel bubbles with countries and regions with extensive public health monitoring systems, and infection rates that are comparable to Singapore’s.
Better COVID-19 Tests
Fast, accurate testing is crucial to Singapore’s successful re-opening. Today, Singapore can conduct almost 40,000 polymerase chain reaction tests a day. But with better testing technology and faster results, Singapore could safely resume more activities sooner.
Why it could be important have phase 3 in Singapore
Some may chide the restrictions on meeting with a large group of people even as the government decide to open up Singapore’s borders. But opening up international trade could help Singapore recover from the pandemic since Singapore is dependent on the external trade of goods and services. After all, Singapore has one of the world’s highest trade-to-GDP ratio, where its trade is over three times as large as its economy.
But while we look forward to more progressive steps towards Phase 3, safe distancing and clean personal hygiene is still a must during our social activities and social gatherings. Because if we bring the virus firmly under control, we could have a fast rebound. China is already climbing out of the pandemic slump, reporting solid growth numbers. So, even with all the public health safeguards in place, we still have to stay vigilant.