Swedish national in Singapore criticize the city-states reopening plan

Swedish Andreas Birnik, who was an adjunct professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS) recently took to his LinkedIn page to express his dissatisfaction and disappointment with Singapore’s reopening plan, media The Online Citizen reports. 

In his LinkedIn post, Andreas Birnik commented on Minister of State Alvin Tan’s 15 August announcement that said that Singapore will allow entry of vaccinated business travelers from some countries on “a carefully controlled itinerary”. In his post, Minister Alvin Tan also said that “Outbound leisure travel will likely be to safer countries with lower infection rates. For inbound tourism, we are looking into bubble-wrapped itineraries with organized tour groups.”

“We will consider factors such as the target countries’ infection, vaccination rates, and ability to control outbreaks,” the Minister wrote. 

According to Andreas Birnik, the announcement by Minister Alvin Tan was “disheartening news” for many people in the international community because the city-state has not announced any clear criteria for outbound travel. “It appears from Minister Tan’s announcement that Singapore has chosen to prioritize inbound business travelers on controlled itineraries and inbound “bubble-wrapped” package tourists. No clear criteria for outbound travel have been announced but with Covid becoming endemic in most parts of the world, it is no longer realistic to expect low infection rates in most countries,” Andreas Birnik wrote.

Moreover, Andreas Birnik wrote that his daughter has not been able to see her grandparents in Sweden in over two years and that he is tired of waiting. According to him, Singapore’s re-opening plan leaves people like him unable to have fully vaccinated family members come and visit without having to endure an expensive and challenging 2-week quarantine in a tiny hotel room. “And it leaves us unable to travel to our home countries and come back to Singapore without the same quarantine requirements for ourselves. If this is what ‘living with COVID’ looks like, it is not a very livable life for those of us with family elsewhere,” Andreas Birnik wrote

“It effectively turns Singapore into a ‘hardship post’ where you become separated from your family for years and years,” he remarked.

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