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Asia Minute: Singapore’s Quarantine Twist

AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File

Tourists are still trickling into Hawaii in relatively small numbers under the Safe Travels Program. That allows visitors with a negative Covid test to bypass quarantine. But another location in the Pacific is rampin gup a different kind of visitor program.

Singapore is moving ahead with a program for business travelers to skip the country’s 14-day quarantine — but there’s a catch.

Arriving passengers have to be willing to undergo strict control of their movements.

The center of the plan is a sort of bubble, visitors will check in at a special facility that will start with 150 guest rooms and 40 meeting rooms — as well as food options. The guests won’t be able to leave to go anywhere else in the city until they catch their planes to leave the country.

They’ll be tested on arrival and every few days for as long as they stay — up to two weeks.

They can meet with other travelers coming in for gatherings, but discussions with local residents will need to take place in special rooms that include floor to ceiling dividers.

The target clientele includes multinational companies that may have regional fly-ins for individuals or for small groups or teams.

All of this was supposed to be in operation last month, but applications are just now being accepted and the facility itself will open to guests early next month. 

The government wants to boost its international meeting business. Singapore is a hub for many organizations operating across several countries in the Asia Pacific, and in normal times is a common location for regional conferences.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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