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Singapore: Singapore will launch a new segregated travel lane aimed at business travellers on short-term visits from the second half of January 2021, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing announced on Tuesday.

The travel lane, or the Connect@Singapore initiative, will be open to a "limited number" of business, official and high economic value travellers from all countries who are staying in the country for up to 14 days, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in a separate press release following the announcement.

Applications for the segregated travel lane will open in the middle of January 2021, and Singapore can expect the first travellers to arrive from the second half of the month, the Channel News Asia reported, citing the MTI release.

"Global travel, especially global business travel has been severely impacted by the need for quarantine measures, and many people in different countries cannot meet each other for business activities," added Chan in an online media conference.

"The idea is for business people to come into Singapore for up to a period of 14 days. During these 14 days, they will undergo the necessary routine medical checks to provide themselves the assurance that they are safe and also to provide the assurance to their meeting partners that they are safe," the channel quoted the minister as saying.

For their whole stay, travellers under the segregated travel lane will be housed within dedicated facilities, undergo regular testing and observe all prevailing safe management measures, said MTI.

The travellers will have to stay within their pre-declared travel group of up to five travellers within the segregated facility, and they will not be allowed to mingle with others. They will also have to abide by all prevailing national safe management measures, and use Trace Together and Safe Entry, the two apps for monitoring people's movement which are mandatory during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the segregated facilities, the travellers will be able to conduct meetings with local visitors and with other traveller groups with safe management measures in place to separate segregated travellers from other individuals, said MTI.

"For example, while travellers will be allowed to meet with local visitors, there will be floor-to-ceiling dividers separating travellers from local visitors," the ministry added.

Travellers will also have to present a valid negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before leaving their home country, and take another PCR test after arriving in Singapore.

While in Singapore, they will take antigen rapid tests on days 3, 5, 7 and 11 after their arrival.

The country has so far reported 58,325 coronavirus cases and 29 related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

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