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(LEAD) S. Korea, Singapore agree on 'fast-track' entry program for biz people amid COVID-19

All News 20:23 September 02, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 5-6)

SEOUL, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Singapore agreed Wednesday to introduce a "fast-track" entry program this week for essential trips by businesspeople and others in exception to coronavirus entry restrictions, the foreign ministry said.

During telephone talks, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Singaporean counterpart, Vivian Balakrishnan, reached the agreement on the streamlined entry procedures set to take effect on Friday.

"The agreement with Singapore, the logistical and financial hub, is expected to contribute to not only the two countries' economic recovery, but also the stable management of global supply chains under the COVID-19 situation," the ministry said in a press release.

Under the entry program, a South Korean businessperson with a negative coronavirus test and a travel pass from the Singaporean government can fly to Singapore. Upon arrival, he or she must undergo another test, and negative results will exempt him or her from quarantine.

In a separate press release, Singapore's foreign ministry said that the fast track will help "restore connectivity and support economic recovery with the necessary public health safeguards."

"The ministers reaffirmed the importance of bilateral cooperation to jointly overcome both countries' common challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic," the Singaporean ministry said.

It is South Korea's fourth such fast-track entry program, following ones with China, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia.

South Korea has been pushing to create such streamlined entry programs with other countries, stressing that essential business trips should be allowed to mitigate the fallout of the pandemic and spur the world's economic recovery.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (L) and her Singaporean counterpart, Vivian Balakrishnan, pose for a photo before their talks in Singapore on March 3, 2018 in this photo provided by the foreign ministry. (Yonhap)


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