Singapore and China Agree to Fast-Lane Essential Business Travel

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a press release on its website Friday, China and Singapore authorities have struck an accord regarding the resumption of essential travel between the two countries in early June. The meeting that was also attended by representatives from the fields of education, trade and industry, customs, immigration, transport and health, was held via a video conference, specifically on the issues related to the virus infection.

Fast Lane Arrangement

Both sides reached an agreement to launch the so-called Fast Lane arrangement, to facilitate essential travel for business and official purposes between the two countries, with virus prevention and risk control measures in place, effective early days of June 2020. The statement did not go into details as to what exactly those measures will be.

During the meeting, Singapore expressed its intent to ease the circuit breaker measures and gradually resume economic and social activities in the country, while China outlined its confidence the situation was improving and already under control. Both countries agreed to continue cooperation regarding issues on the matter.

The arrangement between China and Singapore will initially encompass the six Chinese provinces directly under the central government, with more municipalities and provinces covered further down the road. To help facilitate the arrangement, both countries are looking into possibilities to enhance their civil aviation links, a sector that was hit hard globally by the lack of demand due to the travel restrictions.

Singapore Casinos Will Remain Closed

There is no silver lining to the casino industry in the arrangement, though, as both integrated casino resorts in Singapore, Marina Bay Sands operated by Las Vegas Resorts (LVS) and Genting’s Resorts World Sentosa will remain closed beyond June 1. Both casino complexes have been shut down since April 7, in line with the national government’s effort to contain the further spread of the infection.

Singapore’s gaming regulator, the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA), as cited by the regional media GGRAsia, pointed out an additional assessment by the government of the virus situation would be needed before appropriate timelines for re-opening of casinos can be established.

Macau’s Gaming Industry Struggling

Regarding the Special Administrative Region of China, Macau, casinos there have already resumed operations but are suffocating under travel restrictions from mainland China and struggling to recover. More than three months after re-opening for visitors, casinos posted 93.2% drop in revenues for May year-on-year, sending an industry-wide wake-up call.

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