China and Singapore Fast Lane travel

SINGAPORE, 3 June 2020: A Fast lane to open travel between Singapore and China should activate this month according to a summary briefing from the 2nd China-Singapore Joint Meeting on Covid-19, held via a video-conference on Monday.

Wrapping up the conclusions of the virtual joint meeting, Singapore’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “Both sides agreed on the launch of a Fast Lane arrangement in early June to facilitate essential travel for business and official purposes between the two countries.”

Initially, the arrangement would apply to travel between six Chinese provinces or municipalities directly under the central government (Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang) and Singapore. 

The arrangement will be gradually expanded to include the other Chinese provinces and municipalities after further joint meetings and evaluation. 

Both sides also agreed to explore the increase of air links between the two countries to facilitate the Fast Lane and essential business and official travel requirements.

Countries are talking about establishing travel bubbles or corridors to restart travel, specifically between nations that are successfully combating the spread of Covid-19. Similar “fast lane” bilateral agreements between other Asian nations that outline health and quarantine rules at both ends would help to kick start essential travel. If the joint measures keep the Covid-19 spread in check, opening up leisure travel could follow.

The talks between China and Singapore on establishing a so-called “Fast Lane” appear to be the first between China and a nation in Southeast Asia. Talks between China and Vietnam, as well as Thailand, are probably due soon, and that may lead to China establishing “fast lanes” for essential travel possibly in July.

The meeting between Singapore and China covered education, trade and industry, customs, immigration, transport and health.

Singaporean side will soon relax its circuit breaker measures and gradually resume its economic and social activities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs concluded.

However, Singapore remains in phase one of the easing process. Moving to phase two could occur later this month, but it could still be months before phase three arrives in earnest.