ASEAN and Australia, New Zealand should work to ease border restrictions, says Singapore PM
Singapore, Nov 15 (PTI): Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has called on Australia and New Zealand to work with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to ease border restrictions, saying this will facilitate the resumption of economic activity as the Covid-19 pandemic stabilises, according to a media report.
The ASEAN is considered one of the most influential groupings in the region, and India and several other countries including the US, China, Japan, New Zealand and Australia are its dialogue partners. The 10 member countries of ASEAN are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.
“The reopening of our borders in a safe and calibrated manner will facilitate the resumption of economic activity, and is an important confidence marker for our peoples and businesses,” the Channel News Asia quoted Prime Minister Lee as saying at the second ASEAN-Australia Biennial Summit on Saturday.
He pointed out that Singapore has lifted border restrictions to allow visitors from Australia, adding that he hopes Australia will also ease its own border restrictions “in good time”.
In a similar message during the ASEAN-New Zealand Leaders Summit, Lee said the two sides should progressively and safely lift current travel restrictions.
“This is a critical enabler of our economic recovery, and will signal to the rest of the world that ASEAN and its partners are open for business,” he said.
Singapore lifted border restrictions to visitors from New Zealand because it has done “a commendable job” controlling the spread of Covid-19.
“(Singapore) looks forward to New Zealand similarly lifting its restrictions on cross border travel as soon as it is ready to do so,” said Lee.
Meanwhile, Singapore reported three imported Covid-19 cases on Sunday, taking the nationwide coronavirus tally to 58,116.
There was no local COVID-19 infection, the health ministry said, adding that the death toll due to the disease remains at 28.