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Japan-Singapore green lane hit by COVID-19 upsurge in Japan

A masked Japan Airlines employee helps a passenger check in at the Narita International Airport in Narita, north of Tokyo, on Nov. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

SINGAPORE (Kyodo) -- Singapore said Friday that it will impose restrictions on visitors from Japan after an upsurge of COVID-19 cases there.

    The move will also affect the bilateral "reciprocal green lane" that allows official and business travelers from Japan to enter the city-state without self-isolation.

    Due to "a sharp increase in cases in Japan in the past week," all travelers entering Singapore from Monday who have a travel history in the past two weeks to Japan will be required to serve a 14-day self-isolation at dedicated facilities, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

    It said this also applies to returning Singapore-based travelers under the Singapore-Japan reciprocal green lane, which is meant for anyone who is residing in Japan to make short-term essential travel for business or official purposes to Singapore, and vice versa.

    Currently, travelers from Japan are allowed to serve their 14-day self-isolation period at their place of residence.

    However, short-term business travelers from Japan have had easier access under a special arrangement agreed between the two countries in September.

    That is when Japan and Singapore announced they had agreed to allow short-term business travel from Sept. 18, without requiring a 14-day self-isolation period, marking the first time Tokyo decided to allow businesspeople to enter without such requirement.

    The number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore has remained negligible or zero in recent days. There have been a total of 58,000 cases so far while the number of deaths at 28 is less than the number of people who died due to dengue fever this year.

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