Vietnam, Singapore agree on a travel bubble

By Nguyen Quy   December 16, 2020 | 05:01 pm PT
Vietnam, Singapore agree on a travel bubble
Vietnamese citizens on a repatriation flight from Singapore, May 31, 2020. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Airlines.
The governments of Vietnam and Singapore plan to resume two-way commercial flights between the two countries for business and official travel next year.

Permanent Secretary of Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Chee Wee Kiong, and Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung agreed to "expeditiously conclude ongoing discussions" on a "green lane" agreement for essential business and official travel and restore regular commercial flights between the two countries next year, the Singapore's foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

Singapore will be among the first few countries with which Vietnam will resume regularized essential business and official travel, the ministry said.

"They affirmed the importance of enhancing cooperation to combat the economic impact of the pandemic in several ways including boosting economic linkages, restoring air connectivity, facilitating travel between both countries, and maintaining supply chain connectivity," it said.

They tasked officials with finalizing the agreement early next year.

The two officials also agreed that multilateral cooperation on developing, manufacturing and distributing vaccines was essential for mounting an effective international response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Vietnamese government had earlier greenlighted resumption of two-way commercial flights to seven Asian destinations: mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. However, Vietnamese carriers have not yet been allowed to operate inbound flights while the government finalizes quarantine procedures for foreign passengers.

Singapore unilaterally removed border restrictions for visitors from Vietnam starting October 8, recognizing the effective containment of Covid-19 by the latter.

Singapore has been successful in its containment of the pandemic with a tally over 58,000 infections and 29 deaths so far. Vietnam’s strict quarantine and tracking measures have enabled the nation to quickly contain outbreaks. So far, it has registered 1,405 Covid-19 cases with 35 deaths.

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