South Korea and Singapore agreed to exempt vaccinated travelers from mandatory quarantine
South Korea and Singapore agreed Friday to exempt or ease vaccinated travelers from mandatory quarantine upon arrival, in a major step to help revitalize people-to-people exchanges between the two sides in the midst of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, according to related ministries here Friday.
Under the measure, effective from Nov. 15, passengers arriving in Singapore from South Korea will be exempt from the seven-day mandatory quarantine currently required by the Singaporean authorities.
Seoul has already been allowing quarantine exemptions for vaccinated people coming in from most countries, including Singapore, but on limited grounds, such as humanitarian or other essential reasons, like family visits, business-related or public duties.
Friday’s deal removes the limitations on the purpose of visits for arrivals from the city-state, reopening the border for individual or group tourists, officials said.
It also marks South Korea’s first agreement with a foreign country on mutually recognizing the COVID-19 vaccination, they said. All COVID-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as mix-and-match vaccines, will be accepted.
The two sides formalized the agreement during a video meeting between Land Minister Noh Hyeong-ouk and his Singaporean counterpart, S. Iswaran.
“This agreement between Korea and Singapore will allow free travel between the air hubs representing Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia, and can be seen as a symbol of trust between the two countries,” Kim Yong-seok, a senior land ministry official said.
The official added it will also serve as a chance to meet the domestic demand for outbound travel and reinvigorate tourism, so as to help the pandemic-hit aviation and travel industries overcome difficulties.
Incoming travelers will need to submit proof of documents showing that they have been fully vaccinated for more than two weeks, and have tested negative for the virus in the past 48 or 72 hours.
They are also required to have stayed in the country of departure for at least two weeks before leaving there and travel only via direct flights to qualify for the quarantine exemption.
Upon this deal, the two countries also plan to resume their visa-waiver agreement, which has been suspended since April 2020, officials said. (Yonhap)