Singapore and Vietnam have agreed to “expeditiously conclude ongoing discussions” on a green lane agreement for essential business and official travel. The two Southeast Asian nations have been proven leaders in curbing local transmissions of coronavirus.
MFA Secretary Chee Wee Kiong and Vietnam’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung have tasked officials to finalize the agreement by early next year, said MFA in a statement.
Singapore will be among the first few countries with which Vietnam will resume regularized essential business and official travel.
The two countries are also seeking to reinstate regular commercial return flights between them
Since October 8, short-term visitors from Vietnam have been allowed to enter Singapore thru an Air Travel Pass. Travelers do not need to serve stay-at-home notice upon arrival, but they are required to take a coronavirus test. If the result is negative, they will be allowed to go about their activities within Singapore.
The agreement was reached during the 13th Vietnam-Singapore Political Consultation virtually co-chaired by Minister Dung and Secretary Chee Wee Kiong on December 15.
According to a report from Vietnamnet, Dung proposed that the two sides strengthen cooperation in their potential fields to realize the dual goals of pandemic prevention and sustainable recovery.
“They expressed appreciation for the mutual support rendered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including to the nationals residing in each other’s countries and the facilitation of their return home, the sharing of information and best practices, and the mutual contribution of medical supplies and equipment,” said MFA.
Both the Vietnamese and Singaporean sides agreed on multilateral cooperation for development and manufacture. They also discussed the distribution of vaccines as an essential response to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, Singapore announced that it has approved the usage of vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech. The island state is set to receive the first batch of vaccines by end of December.
Both parties also agreed to expand opportunities for start-ups and innovations, digital economy, legal and judicial cooperation, cybersecurity and smart nation initiatives.
Singapore is also set to launch a new segregated travel lane for business travelers on short-term stays. The special travel lane will be open to a limited number of business, official and high economic value travelers from countries.
Vietnam, meanwhile, is now ready to test its first locally made coronavirus vaccine. According to Vietnam Express, 60 volunteers will be injected with Nanocovax starting tomorrow, December 17. Around 200 people had signed up to be part of the human trial.
The vaccine is developed by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC. If proven effective, Nanocovax will start mass production in May 2021.