"Hopefully by the end of this year or next year, the doors can start to open, if not earlier," channelnewsasia.com quoted Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's interview with BBC on Sunday, March 14.
Lee hoped that by the end of the year, more people will be vaccinated so that countries could reopen borders for people to travel safely.
Currently, the city-state has licensed the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for its mass vaccination program.
Meanwhile, a permit has not been issued for China's Sinovac Biotech vaccine as it is still being evaluated. They will use it if it passes safety and effectiveness standards. This also applies to vaccines from other countries.
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As of March 8, the country has administered over 611,000 doses of vaccines among a population of 5.7 million. They plan to vaccinate all Singaporeans by end of the year while continuing to convince some of the residents to get vaccinated as they are hesitant about the results and its possible side effects.
As a result of this pandemic, Singapore's economy experienced its worst recession last year. Singapore also experienced a decrease in tourist arrivals during 2020.
Based on data from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) received by Kompas.com, tourist arrivals decreased significantly by 85.7 percent in 2020 to only 2.7 million tourists. Similarly, tourism revenue fell 78.4 percent to around S$4.4 billion in the first three quarters of 2020.
A recession also occurred in 2019 due to trade tensions between the United States and China.
(Writer: Citra Fany Samparaya, Syifa Nuri Khairunnisa | Editor: Anggara Wikan Prasetya)