After a two-year coronavirus closure, Singapore fully reopened its borders to all vaccinated visitors on Friday, with arrivals saying it felt “wonderful” to travel without onerous restrictions. The aviation hub, which serves as a major entry point for visitors to Asia, joins other countries in the region that have recently relaxed travel restrictions as they transition to living with Covid-19. Previously, only visitors from a few countries could enter Singapore without being quarantined, but as of Friday, all vaccinated arrivals require only a negative Covid test.
Changi Airport in Singapore was buzzing with interaction as passengers streamed out of the boarding gate, while hundreds waited in the departure zone to fly out of the city-state. “It’s fantastic,” said Aldo Pizzini, a 63-year-old Italian entrepreneur who had flown in from Milan.
“I took advantage of the first possibility to fly today, now that many of the restrictions have been lifted… We’re getting back to normal.”
Diana Mathias, who is from French Guiana and lives in Abu Dhabi, was on vacation with her mother in Singapore.
“I’m really delighted because I haven’t flown in a long time,” she said.
The 38-year-old admitted she was “a little stressed” about the prospect of doing a lot of paperwork to travel again, but she found the process “really easy” in the end.
On Friday, borders in neighboring Malaysia reopened completely, and thousands of cars and motorcycles flooded across a one-kilometer (0.6 miles) causeway that separates it from Singapore.
The causeway, one of the busiest international land borders, had already reopened partially last year, though some curbs remained in place.
As foreign tourists arrived, the main airport serving Kuala Lumpur was crowded.
Tourists were previously barred from entering Malaysia, a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful sandy and lush rainforests, but vaccinated travelers can now enter with only a negative Covid test.
Bo Lingam, the group CEO of Malaysia’s leading regional carrier AirAsia, predicted a “surge” in passenger traffic.
According to AFP, the reopening of borders is “a pleasure for me and our AirAsia staff who had to face a lot of struggles during the pandemic.”
“From today on, it’s all about flying in blue skies and getting our planes off the tarmac.”