APPEC-EU sanctions, price cap on Russian oil to raise shipping hurdles

APPEC-EU sanctions, price cap on Russian oil to raise shipping hurdles

SINGAPORE, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Oil markets are bracing for the biggest shift in global trade flows ever as nearly 3 million barrels per day of Russian crude oil and products will have to be diverted to markets outside Europe and advanced economies when European Union sanctions take effect in the coming months, Vitol executives said. The European Union will ban Russian crude imports by Dec. 5 and Russian oil products by Feb. 5, depriving Russia of oil revenues and forcing one of the world's top oil producers and exporters to seek alternative markets. The Group of Seven nations, led…
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Singapore to drop most indoor mask requirements next week

Singapore to drop most indoor mask requirements next week

SINGAPORE, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Singapore will do away with requirements to wear masks indoors starting Aug. 29, as the country sees its COVID-19 situation stabilise further, the health minister said on Wednesday. For the first time in more than two years, people in the Southeast Asian city-state will no longer be required to wear masks indoors except on public transport and in high-risk settings like healthcare facilities. The health ministry also updated rules for non-vaccinated travellers, dropping a 7-day quarantine requirement starting next week. Singapore, which is a major Asian financial and travel hub, lifted most pandemic curbs, including…
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Photo Story: The Singapore Night Festival

Photo Story: The Singapore Night Festival

A visitor looks at inflatable sculptures titled ‘tobyato bird pitstop’ during a media preview for the Singapore Night Festival in Singapore. The Singapore Night Festival featuring over 55 programmes including art projection mapping installations on iconic landmarks, Night Lights installations and various performances will run from 19 to 27 August. Via EPA-EFE/HOW HWEE YOUNG
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Singapore-based crypto lender Hodlnaut suspends withdrawals

Singapore-based crypto lender Hodlnaut suspends withdrawals

Hodlnaut, a Singapore-based crypto currency lender and borrower, has suspended withdrawals, swaps and deposits, the company said on Monday, the latest sign of stress in the cryptocurrency industry. The crypto lender also said it would withdraw its application for a licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to provide digital token payment services, for which it received in principle approval in March. Hodlnaut said the move was "due to recent market conditions" and was "to focus on stabilising our liquidity and preserving assets". The company is the latest in a string of crypto players globally to run into difficulties following a sharp sell off in markets…
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Crypto platform Zipmex files for bankruptcy protection in Singapore

Crypto platform Zipmex files for bankruptcy protection in Singapore

July 29 (Reuters) - Southeast Asia-focused cryptocurrency exchange Zipmex said it had filed for bankruptcy protection in Singapore, becoming the latest victim of the global downturn in digital currencies. Singapore-based Zipmex resumed withdrawals last week, a day after suspending them on July 20, and said it was working to address its exposure of $53 million to crypto lenders Babel Finance and Celsius. Zipmex's solicitors submitted five applications on July 22 seeking moratoriums to prohibit legal proceedings against Zipmex for up to six months, the cryptocurrency exchange said on Wednesday. Under Singapore law, such a filing grants companies an automatic moratorium for 30 days, or…
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Singapore extends stay of Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa

Singapore extends stay of Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa

COLOMBO/SINGAPORE, July 27 (Reuters) - Singapore has permitted former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to stay in the island republic for an additional 14 days, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday. A short-term visit pass issued when Rajapaksa arrived on a private visit two weeks ago has been extended, two separate sources in Colombo and Singapore, both with knowledge of the matter, told Reuters. Rajapaksa is now able to stay in Singapore until August 11. The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority in Singapore did not respond to a request for confirmation on the extension of stay. Rajapaksa…
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Singapore to remove most COVID curbs next week

Singapore to remove most COVID curbs next week

SINGAPORE, April 22 (Reuters) - Singapore will remove most remaining COVID-19 restrictions from April 26 and ease its entry requirements for travellers, its health ministry said on Friday, in response to a decline in new daily infections. The measures include removing limits on group sizes and allowing the full return of employees to workplaces, while lowering the Southeast Asian financial hub's alert level for the first time since the pandemic started. Authorities also announced the scrapping of a requirement for vaccinated travellers to take a COVID test before departing for Singapore. "With these changes, we can now have a well deserved breather,…
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Singapore’s Lee says Finance Minister Wong to succeed him as PM

Singapore’s Lee says Finance Minister Wong to succeed him as PM

SINGAPORE, April 16 (Reuters) - Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Saturday that Finance Minister Lawrence Wong would succeed him as the city-state's leader. Wong was chosen as leader of the ruling People's Action Party's (PAP) so-called fourth generation team, according to an announcement on Thursday, paving the way for him to become prime minister.  "The plan is for Lawrence to succeed me as PM, either before or after (if the PAP wins) the next General Election. It is due in 2025 and will surely be a tough fight," Lee said in a social media post on Saturday. Lee, whose…
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Singapore extends quarantine-free entry as Asia shifts to “living with COVID”

Singapore extends quarantine-free entry as Asia shifts to “living with COVID”

SINGAPORE, March 24 (Reuters) - Singapore said on Thursday it will lift quarantine requirements for all vaccinated travellers from next month, joining a string of countries in Asia moving more firmly toward a "living with the virus" approach. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the financial hub will also drop requirements to wear masks outdoors and allow larger groups to gather. "Our fight against COVID-19 has reached a major turning point," Lee said in a televised speech that was also streamed on Facebook. "We will be making a decisive move towards living with COVID-19." Singapore was one of the first countries to shift from a…
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Singapore sanctions Russia over ‘unprovoked attack’ on Ukraine

Singapore sanctions Russia over ‘unprovoked attack’ on Ukraine

SINGAPORE, March 5 (Reuters) - Singapore announced sanctions against Russia on Saturday that include four banks and an export ban on electronics, computers and military items, in a rare move by the Asian financial hub in response to what it said was Moscow's "dangerous precedent" in Ukraine. The tiny city-state, an international shipping hub, rarely imposes sanctions of its own but said it would not allow export of items that could inflict harm on or subjugate Ukrainians, or help Russia launch cyber attacks. "We cannot accept the Russian government's violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another sovereign state," its foreign…
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Singapore to hike taxes on rich as it winds down COVID-19 spending

Singapore to hike taxes on rich as it winds down COVID-19 spending

SINGAPORE, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Singapore will begin implementing a long-flagged increase to its goods and services tax next year, its finance minister said in his budget speech on Friday, while also announcing a slew of tax hikes aimed at higher income groups. The moves come as Singapore emerges from a pandemic-induced economic slump, but walks a tight rope in maintaining its attractiveness as a global financial hub while guarding against local concerns about rising wealth inequality and rising costs of living. GST will rise to 8% from January next year and to 9% in 2024, Lawrence Wong said, from 7% now.…
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Singapore to expand quarantine-free travel programme after Omicron freeze

Singapore to expand quarantine-free travel programme after Omicron freeze

SINGAPORE, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Singapore will expand its quarantine-free travel programme to Hong Kong, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this month, its health ministry said on Wednesday, and will progressively add more destinations under the scheme. It will also restore and increase quotas under its vaccinated travel programme, which had been reduced in December to deal with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Singapore will also streamline border measures for travellers from most countries and remove an entry approval requirement for eligible long-term pass holders, making it easier for expatriates to travel, the ministry said. The country…
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Singapore sees Omicron coronavirus wave outpacing Delta

Singapore sees Omicron coronavirus wave outpacing Delta

SINGAPORE, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Singapore expects the Omicron coronavirus variant to cause a bigger wave of infections than Delta, the health ministry said on Wednesday, adding a booster dose will soon be required for adults to maintain their fully vaccinated status. From Feb. 14, eligible persons aged 18 years and above should have received a booster dose no later than 270 days after the last dose in the primary vaccination series to continue to be considered fully vaccinated, the ministry said. The city-state of 5.5 million people allows only those counted as fully vaccinated to enter malls or dine…
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Singapore to freeze new ticket sales for quarantine-free arrivals

Singapore to freeze new ticket sales for quarantine-free arrivals

Singapore will freeze the sale of tickets for arriving flights and buses under its quarantine-free travel programme for four weeks from Thursday, the government said, citing the risk from the fast-spreading Omicron COVID-19 variant. Under the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) programme, Singapore allows quarantine-free entry for fully vaccinated travellers arriving from certain countries on designated flights or buses. The travellers have to undergo regular testing. About two dozen countries are listed in the programme including Australia, India, Malaysia, Britain and the United States. But no new tickets would be issued for people hoping to arrive from any of those countries…
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Binance affiliate says will withdraw Singapore licence application

Binance affiliate says will withdraw Singapore licence application

HONG KONG, Dec 13 (Reuters) - The Singapore affiliate of Binance, one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, said on Monday it will withdraw its local licence application and wind down its digital payment token business in the broadly crypto-friendly city-state. The company, which has come under growing scrutiny globally, did not give a reason for its decision beyond "strategic, commercial and developmental" considerations and said it would refocus the local unit's operations on becoming a blockchain innovation hub. Governments and financial watchdogs around the world have intensified scrutiny of the cryptocurrency industry this year, posing a challenge to exchanges…
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Singapore, Malaysia to open land border for vaccinated travelers

Singapore, Malaysia to open land border for vaccinated travelers

SINGAPORE, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Singapore and Malaysia will next week launch a quarantine-free travel lane at their land border crossing, one of the world's busiest, for people vaccinated against COVID-19, the two countries said on Wednesday. The plan, effective Nov. 29, expands an already announced move to start a travel lane for flights between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport from next week. The land travel lane in the first phase will apply to citizens, permanent residents or long-term pass holders of the country they are entering, to allow people to visit families on the other side of…
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Singapore relaxes tight COVID-19 social curbs from today

Singapore relaxes tight COVID-19 social curbs from today

Singapore's government is easing some of the tight social curbs it imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, after infections stabilised in the city-state over the past month. From Monday, limits on social interactions and dining out will be expanded to five people from the current rule of up to two vaccinated people, government ministers told a news conference on Saturday. They said the overall infection numbers and hospital situation have largely stabilised and improved. "We are now transiting towards living with COVID-19," Gan Kim Yong, minister for trade and industry, told reporters. "I know many or some prefer to…
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Singapore relaxes tight COVID-19 social curbs from Monday

Singapore relaxes tight COVID-19 social curbs from Monday

SINGAPORE, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Singapore's government is easing some of the tight social curbs it imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, after infections stabilised in the city-state over the past month. From Monday, limits on social interactions and dining out will be expanded to five people from the current rule of up to two vaccinated people, government ministers told a news conference on Saturday. They said the overall infection numbers and hospital situation have largely stabilised and improved. "We are now transiting towards living with COVID-19," Gan Kim Yong, minister for trade and industry, told reporters. "I know…
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Denmark to impose COVID-19 isolation for travellers from Singapore

Denmark to impose COVID-19 isolation for travellers from Singapore

SINGAPORE, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Denmark will impose self-isolation requirements on travellers from Singapore, its embassy in the city-state said on Thursday, following a surge in COVID-19 infections. Singapore was removed this week from a European Union list of non-EU countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted. "Singapore is now considered a high risk country for travel to Europe," the embassy of Denmark in Singapore posted on Facebook. The EU's safe list of countries is reviewed every two weeks and is not legally binding on member nations. Last month, the United States advised citizens against travel to Singapore, raising…
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Singapore and Malaysia commit to re-opening travel corridor on 29 November

Singapore and Malaysia commit to re-opening travel corridor on 29 November

Singapore and Malaysia will allow quarantine-free travel between both countries for individuals vaccinated against COVID-19, they said in a joint statement on Monday. The two neighbors will launch a so-called vaccinated travel lane between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport from Nov. 29, it said. Photo - A woman wears a mask at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia. EPA-EFE/FAZRY ISMAIL
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Singapore may see 2,000 COVID-19 deaths annually – minister

Singapore may see 2,000 COVID-19 deaths annually – minister

Singapore could see as many 2,000 COVID-19 deaths annually over time, mainly among the elderly, but it was focused on avoiding excess mortality, a minister said on Monday, as the country battles its biggest surge in infections. At 0.2% Singapore's COVID-19 case fatality rate is similar to the rate of deaths from pneumonia before the pandemic struck, said Janil Puthucheary, a senior minister of state in parliament. It is also lower than other countries where cases surged before vaccination, he said. "But it does mean that over time, the absolute number of deaths from COVID-19 will rise despite the best…
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Singapore fuel oil imports from Malta at a three-year high

Singapore fuel oil imports from Malta at a three-year high

Singapore residual fuel oil inventories rose 0.5% in the week ended Oct. 27, marking four consecutive weeks of stock build-up, as weekly net import volumes dropped but were near the 2021 weekly average, official data showed on Thursday. Onshore fuel oil stocks rose by 109,000 barrels, or about 17,000 tonnes, to a seven-week high of 21.8 million barrels, or 3.43 million tonnes, Enterprise Singapore data showed. But, the residual fuel stocks were still 6% lower from year-ago levels and below the 2021 weekly average of 22.76 million barrels. Singapore's weekly net import volumes fell to 609,000 tonnes in the week…
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Singapore looking into unusual surge after record COVID-19 cases

Singapore looking into unusual surge after record COVID-19 cases

Singapore's health ministry said it is looking into an "unusual surge" in infections after the city-state reported 5,324 new cases of COVID-19, the most since the beginning of the pandemic. Singapore also recorded 10 new deaths from the disease on Wednesday, taking the toll to 349. "The infection numbers are unusually high today, mostly due to many COVID-positive cases detected by the testing laboratories within a few hours in the afternoon," the ministry of health (MOH) said in a statement on Wednesday night. "MOH is looking into this unusual surge in cases within a relatively short window, and closely monitoring…
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Vaccinated Singapore shows zero-COVID countries cost of reopening

Vaccinated Singapore shows zero-COVID countries cost of reopening

Few are left to inoculate in wealthy Singapore after a vigorous campaign achieved a level of coverage envied by many nations battling the coronavirus pandemic, but a record surge in deaths and infections gives warning of risks that may still lie ahead. Despite mask mandates, strict social curbs and COVID-19 booster doses available for over a month, infections in the Asian city-state's latest outbreak, driven by the Delta variant, took the death toll to 280, up from 55 early in September. "Singapore may potentially experience two to three epidemic waves as measures are increasingly relaxed," said Alex Cook, a disease…
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Singapore tightens monetary policy in surprise move as price pressures grow

Singapore tightens monetary policy in surprise move as price pressures grow

Singapore's central bank unexpectedly tightened its monetary policy on Thursday, delivering its first such move in three years, amid mounting cost pressures caused by supply constraints and a recovery in the global economy. The city-state joins a group of economies globally that have begun to dial back heavy pandemic-era monetary stimulus, as the threat of inflation outweighs the growth risks posed by the coronavirus. The central bank, which manages its policy through exchange rate settings, said it would raise slightly the slope of its currency policy band, from zero percent previously. Irvin Seah, a senior economist at DBS, said the…
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Singapore opens quarantine-free travel to major countries, eyes COVID-19 ‘new normal’

Singapore opens quarantine-free travel to major countries, eyes COVID-19 ‘new normal’

Singapore is opening its borders to more countries for quarantine-free travel as the city-state seeks to rebuild its status as an international aviation hub, and prepares to reach a "new normal" to live with COVID-19. From Oct. 19 fully vaccinated people from eight countries, including Britain, France, Spain and the United States, will be able to enter the island without quarantining if they pass their COVID-19 tests, the government said on Saturday. The announcement marks a major step in Singapore's strategy to resume international links. The Southeast Asian nation, one of the world's biggest travel and finance hubs, is home…
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Merck says deal signed with Singapore on COVID-19 antiviral pill

Merck says deal signed with Singapore on COVID-19 antiviral pill

Merck announced on Wednesday a supply and purchase agreement that will provide Singapore with access to its experimental oral COVID-19 antiviral drug, the latest Asian country to try to snap up supplies. Molnupiravir is designed to introduce errors into the genetic code of the virus and would be the first oral antiviral medication for COVID-19. Merck is seeking approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the pill. Singapore's health ministry did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation of the Merck agreement. Australia has also bought the Merck pill, while Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia…
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Singapore plans central data platform to fight money laundering

Singapore plans central data platform to fight money laundering

SINGAPORE, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Singapore's central bank said on Friday it would create a digital platform enabling banks to share information on customers and transactions, part of efforts to prevent money laundering and financing of criminal activity. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in a statement that it plans to launch the platform in the first half of 2023 and make it available to the city-state's six biggest commercial banks in the initial phase. Financial and trade hubs like Singapore are particularly vulnerable to money laundering due to large cross-border flows. "The information-sharing framework is designed to target…
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Frustration with new COVID curbs as Singapore moves to open up

Frustration with new COVID curbs as Singapore moves to open up

Singapore's reimposition of coronavirus restrictions to buy time to prepare to live with the disease has been met with some rare frustration as the government walks a fine line between reopening and preventing hospitals from getting overwhelmed. Singapore has largely kept the virus at bay since last year with masks, contact tracing and a closed border. Now infections are surging to new daily records of more than 2,000 but with 82% of its 5.4 million people fully vaccinated, 98.1% of cases over the past month have been asymptomatic or involved only mild symptoms. Singapore relaxed restrictions in August, after 18…
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Singapore population sees biggest percentage drop since 1950

Singapore population sees biggest percentage drop since 1950

Singapore's population size this year saw its sharpest percentage drop since 1950, a report said on Tuesday, as coronavirus-induced travel restriction kept foreigners away from the Asian financial hub. It was the second consecutive year the city-state saw its population shrink and only the third time it had negative growth since 1950, according to an official annual population report. The total population, which includes foreigners who live, work and study in Singapore but are not permanent residents, dropped by 4.1% to 5.45 million people. That was largely as a result of a 10.7% decrease in its non-resident population. Similar to other developed…
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Binance to stop Singapore users buying or trading crypto on main platform

Binance to stop Singapore users buying or trading crypto on main platform

Binance, one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, said on Monday that users in Singapore would no longer be allowed buy and trade cryptocurrencies on its main platform, to comply with local regulation. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) this month warned Binance.com that it could be in breach of local laws and should stop providing payment services to the city-state's residents. From Oct. 26, users in Singapore will no longer be able to deposit fiat currencies, or buy or spot-trade cryptocurrencies on the platform, Monday's statement said - a significant tightening of restrictions announced shortly after the MAS's statement.…
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Scientists in Singapore transform fruit leftovers into antibacterial bandages

Scientists in Singapore transform fruit leftovers into antibacterial bandages

Scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore are tackling food waste by turning discarded durian husks into antibacterial gel bandages. The process extracts cellulose powder from the fruit's husks after they are sliced and freeze-dried, then mixes it with glycerol. This mixture becomes soft hydrogel, which is then cut into bandage strips. "In Singapore, we consume about 12 million durians a year, so besides the flesh, we can't do much about the husk and the seeds and this cause environmental pollution," said Professor William Chen, director of the food science and technology programme at NTU. The fruit's husks, which…
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Singapore primary schools to shift online as COVID-19 cases rise

Singapore primary schools to shift online as COVID-19 cases rise

(Reuters) -Singapore's primary schools will shift to home-based learning for 10 days ahead of a key national examination, the education ministry said on Saturday, as the country reported 935 new COVID-19 cases the previous day, the highest since April last year. Primary 1 to 5 students will move to home-based learning from Sept. 27 to Oct. 6. Primary 6 students will go on a study break for a few days from Sept. 25 before sitting for the national examination to minimise risk of school-based transmissions and reduce the number of students placed in quarantine. "With the PSLE (Primary School Leaving…
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Binance removes Singapore products on main platform after regulator’s warning

Binance removes Singapore products on main platform after regulator’s warning

Embattled Binance, one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, said it will restrict its services in Singapore days after the city state's central bank said it should stop offering payment services. The Monetary Authority of Singapore became the latest regulator to take aim at Binance, warning last week that its global platform, Binance.com, could be breaking the law by providing payment services to Singapore residents without an appropriate licence. Binance.com will stop offering Singapore dollar payment options and Singapore dollar trading pairs from Sept. 10 and the app will be removed from the Singapore iOs and Google Play stores, it…
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Vaccinated Singapore eases into reopening as other nations watch for lessons

Vaccinated Singapore eases into reopening as other nations watch for lessons

Ronney Ng, who sells souvenirs in Singapore's Chinatown, can hardly wait for the country to reopen its borders now that 80% of its population has been inoculated against COVID-19 - one of the world's best vaccination rates. "Our business depends almost entirely on tourists; it is very tough for us if they are not visiting Singapore," said Ng, who added that he can no longer afford three meals a day. The regional travel hub, with about 5.7 million residents, is among the first countries to reopen in the region, albeit slowly. Masks are still mandatory in almost all public settings,…
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Kamala Harris says U.S. focus on Afghan evacuations, pledges open South China Sea

Kamala Harris says U.S. focus on Afghan evacuations, pledges open South China Sea

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said on Monday during a visit to Singapore that the United States was focusing on evacuation efforts taking place in Afghanistan and that there would be plenty of time to analyse the context of the troop withdrawal. Harris met with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Halimah Yacob during a trip aimed at bolstering ties with partners in the region as part of Washington's efforts to counter China's growing economic and security influence. "There is going to be plenty of time to analyse what has happened and what has taken place in the…
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In highly vaccinated Singapore, masks may be last virus curb to go

In highly vaccinated Singapore, masks may be last virus curb to go

Singapore, one of the world's most vaccinated countries, is likely to stick to its mask mandate for some more time, according to its foreign minister, as the city-state cautiously reopens its borders and eases its COVID-19 restrictions. "I don't think people want to wear masks. But on the other hand, I think we've gotten used to it," Vivian Balakrishnan, who was a medical doctor before taking up politics, told Reuters. "That should be the last measure we dismantle," he said in an interview. Masks have been compulsory since April last year in Singapore, which has been among the most successful…
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Singapore to start gradual easing of border restrictions

Singapore to start gradual easing of border restrictions

Singapore will allow quarantine-free entry to vaccinated travelers from Germany and Brunei from next month, its aviation regulator said on Thursday, as part of a plan to reopen its borders cautiously. Border restrictions will also be progressively eased for all travel from Hong Kong and Macau from Aug. 21, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said. Photo: A couple walks past the Rain Vortex waterfall at the Jewel Changi airport mall in Singapore. EPA-EFE/WALLACE WOON
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Briton to be deported from Singapore for refusing to wear mask

Briton to be deported from Singapore for refusing to wear mask

A British man jailed in Singapore for breaking coronavirus protocols by refusing to wear a face mask was released on Thursday and will be deported, the country's prison department said. Benjamin Glynn, 40, was convicted on Wednesday and sentenced to six weeks in jail but was released due to time served while remanded in detention, which included two weeks in a mental health institution, the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) said. Glynn was found guilty on four charges over his failure to wear a mask on a train in May and at a subsequent court appearance in July, as well as…
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Singapore to tweak foreign worker policies amid local job concerns

Singapore to tweak foreign worker policies amid local job concerns

The Singapore government will adjust foreign worker policies to address concerns among locals over competition for jobs, even as the global business hub remains open to talent from overseas, its prime minister said. "We have to adjust our policies to manage the quality, numbers and concentrations of foreigners in Singapore," Lee Hsien Loong said in his National Day Message. "If we do this well, we can continue to welcome foreign workers and new immigrants, as we must. Foreign labour has long been a hot button issue in Singapore, but uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic have increased employment worries among…
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Singapore to ease COVID-19 curbs from next week

Singapore to ease COVID-19 curbs from next week

Singapore's health ministry said on Friday it will start easing COVID-19 restrictions, including allowing fully vaccinated people to dine in at restaurants in groups of five, from next Tuesday. The easing comes as the government expects more than 70% of the population to have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Aug. 9. The government will also resume entry approvals for vaccinated work pass holders and their dependants with travel history to higher risk countries from Aug. 10. Photo: A boy wearing a protective face mask cycles past Merlion statue at Merlion Park in Singapore. EPA-EFE/HOW HWEE YOUNG
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Singapore aims to start quarantine-free travel by September

Singapore aims to start quarantine-free travel by September

Singapore is looking to allow quarantine-free travel for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from September, when 80% of the city-state's population should be inoculated, the government said on Monday. Singapore will establish travel corridors with countries or regions where COVID-19 is under control, and those who are vaccinated may not have to quarantine or may be allowed to isolate at home, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said. The city-state is also set to review whether to loosen curbs in early August, when two-thirds of its population would be fully inoculated. "The easing will be differentiated and extended to only…
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Vaccinated people make up 75% of recent COVID-19 cases in Singapore, but few fall ill

Vaccinated people make up 75% of recent COVID-19 cases in Singapore, but few fall ill

Vaccinated individuals accounted for three-quarters of Singapore's COVID-19 infections in the last four weeks, but they were not falling seriously ill, government data showed, as a rapid ramp-up in inoculations leaves fewer people unvaccinated. While the data shows that vaccines are highly effective in preventing severe cases, it also underscores the risk that even those inoculated could be contagious, so that inoculation alone may not suffice to halt transmission. Of Singapore's 1,096 locally transmitted infections in the last 28 days, 484, or about 44%, were in fully vaccinated people, while 30% were partially vaccinated and just over 25% were unvaccinated,…
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UPDATED: Singapore reports 11-month high of 163 local COVID-19 cases

UPDATED: Singapore reports 11-month high of 163 local COVID-19 cases

Singapore's health ministry reported on Monday 163 new locally-transmitted coronavirus cases, the highest daily tally in 11 months, driven by growing clusters of infections linked to a fishery port and karaoke bars. The numbers are a rise from Sunday's 88 local cases. Singapore's health ministry earlier "strongly" advised unvaccinated individuals, especially the elderly, to stay home as much as possible over the next few weeks, citing heightened concerns about the risk of community spread of COVID-19. The country reported 88 new locally-transmitted coronavirus cases on Sunday, the highest daily toll since August last year, driven by growing clusters of infections…
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Singapore sees most COVID-19 cases in 10 months

Singapore sees most COVID-19 cases in 10 months

Singapore reported its highest number of local coronavirus cases in 10 months, after the discovery of a cluster among hostesses and customers of KTV karaoke lounges. Of the 56 new community infections, 42 were linked to the KTV outbreak, the health ministry said. The ministry has been investigating infections among what it said were Vietnamese hostesses who frequented KTV lounges or clubs and has offered free COVID-19 testing to anyone potentially exposed. The first known case was a Vietnamese woman who sought medical help on Sunday, local media reported. Singapore has yet to reopen KTV lounges and clubs and authorities…
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Singapore eyes sports, conferences, concerts for vaccinated residents

Singapore eyes sports, conferences, concerts for vaccinated residents

Singapore is aiming to allow bigger gatherings for conferences, live music, sports, weddings and religious events for people fully vaccinated against coronavirus later this month, when it expects more than half of its population to be immunised. The plan would follow a loosening of some coronavirus restrictions from next week, including allowing up to five people to dine at restaurants, its health ministry said on Wednesday. The announcement came as Singapore sees an accelerated COVID-19 vaccination rate and very few locally transmitted cases in recent weeks. Authorities are aiming for more liberal social measures for those fully vaccinated, like gatherings…
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UK and Singapore agree post-Brexit deal for financial services

UK and Singapore agree post-Brexit deal for financial services

Britain said on Wednesday it had agreed a partnership for financial services with Singapore as part of its push for post-Brexit trade and investment deals. "Our financial partnership will help increase investment and trade with Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region and boost collaboration on important areas such as fintech and green finance," British finance minister Rishi Sunak said. The agreement includes a memorandum of understanding which seeks to reduce burdens for firms operating in British and Singapore markets by recognising that their financial services regulatory regimes achieve the same outcomes. An MoU on cybersecurity was also part of the agreement…
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Singapore drawing up road map to live with COVID-19

Singapore drawing up road map to live with COVID-19

Singapore said on Thursday it expects to almost double the number of doses of coronavirus vaccines it administers each day to 80,000 from this weekend and might later ease restrictions on gatherings and travel for those inoculated. Around 3 million people, or just over 50% of Singapore's population, have received the first dose of a vaccine. About 2 million of those have received the second dose also. The health ministry said it hopes that by Aug. 9, two thirds of people eligible for vaccines will have received two doses and authorities plan to ease restrictions further when more are vaccinated.…
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Singapore records slowest decade of population growth since independence

Singapore records slowest decade of population growth since independence

Singapore's population rose by about 1.1% each year over the past decade, the slowest rate since independence in 1965, the latest census showed on Wednesday, with locals having fewer children and immigration policies tightening. Just last year, the global financial hub saw its population fall 0.3% to 5.69 million, the first drop since 2003, due to fewer foreign arrivals on the back of travel curbs and job losses brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Like many other developed countries, Singapore is struggling with the implications of low birth rates and an ageing population. Residents aged 65 years and over formed…
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Singapore to ease COVID-19 restrictions from next week

Singapore to ease COVID-19 restrictions from next week

Singapore will start a phased easing of its COVID-19 restrictions from Monday its health ministry said, after domestic transmission of the virus slowed and the number of new cases declined. Authorities will from Monday allow up to five people to gather, from two currently, then from June 21 will allow restaurants to resume dine-in services if infections remain under control. The ministry also said regulators had approved four coronavirus self-testing kits. Photo: A man wearing a protective face mask walks in front of the Marina Bay Sands resort lighted up in tribute to healthcare workers at the Merlion Park in…
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Singapore finds Delta most prevalent among virus variants locally

Singapore finds Delta most prevalent among virus variants locally

Singapore has found the Delta variant of the coronavirus to be the most prevalent among local cases of variants of concern (VOCs), according to health ministry data, highlighting its level of infectiousness. There were 449 local cases with VOCs as of May 31, of which 428 were the Delta variant first detected in India and nine of the Beta variant first identified in South Africa, the health ministry said in emailed statement on Wednesday. Singapore authorities first reported the presence locally of the Delta variant in early May. The Delta variant is stoking concern of a major spike in infections…
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Singapore PM says can relax social curbs if local virus situation improves

Singapore PM says can relax social curbs if local virus situation improves

Singapore should be able to relax recently imposed restrictions on social gatherings after two weeks if the local COVID-19 situation continues to improve, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday. "The number of daily cases has come down. Barring another super-spreader or big cluster, we should be on track to bring this outbreak under control," Lee said in a speech. The current restrictions are to last until June 13. Lee also said he expected two-thirds of residents to have received at least one dose of a vaccine by early July and that contact tracing and testing would be increased…
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Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble postponed for a second time

Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble postponed for a second time

A travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore due to open on May 26 has been postponed for a second time, officials said on Monday, after a spike in cases in Singapore derailed the plan for quarantine-free travel between the financial hubs. The bubble was initially slated to begin in November last year but was called off after a rise in cases in Hong Kong. Under the plan, travellers would have to test negative for COVID-19 before departure and on arrival to move freely between the cities. Hong Kong and Singapore have been largely successful in keeping the virus at…
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Singapore warns children susceptible to virus variants, shuts schools

Singapore warns children susceptible to virus variants, shuts schools

Singapore warned that the new coronavirus variants, such as the one first detected in India, were affecting more children, as the city-state prepares to shut most schools from this week and draws up plans to vaccinate youngsters. All primary, secondary and junior colleges will shift to full home-based learning from Wednesday until the end of the school term on May 28. "Some of these (virus) mutations are much more virulent, and they seem to attack the younger children," said Education Minister Chan Chun Sing. None of the children who have contracted the virus are seriously ill and a few have…
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Singapore reports 38 new local COVID-19 cases, highest in months

Singapore reports 38 new local COVID-19 cases, highest in months

Singapore’s health ministry on Sunday preliminarily confirmed 38 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, the highest daily number since mid-September, as the city-state returned to the strictest curbs on gatherings since a coronavirus lockdown last year. Singapore has reported more than 61,000 virus cases, with the bulk linked to outbreaks in foreign worker dormitories, and 31 deaths. While none of Sunday’s new cases are in the dormitories, they are the highest number of local infections outside of the dormitories in a year. The Asian trade and financial hub of 5.7 million people had until recently been reporting almost zero or single-digit daily…
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Singapore tightens COVID-19 curbs on social gatherings, dining

Singapore tightens COVID-19 curbs on social gatherings, dining

Singapore announced on Friday the strictest curbs on social gatherings and public activities since easing a COVID-19 lockdown last year, amid a rise in locally acquired infections and with new coronavirus clusters forming in recent weeks. The new measures announced by the health ministry, which will be effective from Sunday to mid June, include limiting social gatherings to two people and ceasing dining in at restaurants. The authorities said they will review the measures after two weeks to assess if adjustments are needed. Photo: A couple walks past the Rain Vortex waterfall at the Jewel Changi airport mall in Singapore.…
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Singapore reports most COVID-19 cases in 8 months amid airport cluster

Singapore reports most COVID-19 cases in 8 months amid airport cluster

Singapore's health ministry on Thursday reported 24 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, the highest daily number since mid-September, with 17 of the fresh cases linked to a cluster at Changi Airport. Authorities had started testing all workers at the airport a few days ago after detecting the cluster. They have also restricted access to terminals to only passengers with tickets and essential workers for two weeks from Thursday. Following months of reporting few new local cases, infections in Singapore have been climbing, prompting authorities to tighten social distancing rules from last week. As of Wednesday, the number of unlinked cases in…
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BioNTech to build mRNA vaccine manufacturing site in Singapore

BioNTech to build mRNA vaccine manufacturing site in Singapore

BioNTech plans to set up a regional centre and a new factory in Singapore for its vaccines, it said on Monday, boosting its presence in Asia as a debate over patents rages and pressure grows on drugmakers to raise output of COVID-19 shots. Governments are looking to build up local vaccine production to secure access to supplies after manufacturing setbacks have slowed the rollout of COVID-19 doses in some countries. The Singapore facility will "address potential pandemic threats" in southeast Asia and will increase BioNTech's global supply capacity of product candidates - also beyond vaccines - based on messenger RNA…
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