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Vaccines are Singapore’s priority but are not silver bullets, minister says

SINGAPORE — Singapore needs a “suite of measures” beyond Covid vaccinations in order to open up its economy and allow international travel, said S Iswaran, the country’s minister for communications and information.

Some of those measures may include testing for Covid-19, he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Tuesday, as part of World Economic Forum Global Technology Governance Summit.  

“The way we see it, this has to be a suite of measures. Vaccinations are essential but they are not silver bullets,” he said. “We need that to be complemented by a strong, robust testing regime, as well as effective safe management measures.”

He said such solutions will be important going forward, “whether it is opening up the economy further” or enabling cross-border activity or travels, said Iswaran.

People wearing protective masks prepare entering a mall at Singapore’s shopping district Orchard Road.

Suhaimi Abdullah | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The minister said vaccines are a “national priority” and will help Singapore get back to pre-Covid levels of economic activity, but that process would involve small steps over time, rather than a big and sudden change.

“It is going to be more an evolutionary process rather than a revolutionary one,” he said.

That’s likely to be the case around the world, he added. “The way we will go forward … is going to be measured, calibrated steps in terms of facilitating cross border flows of people.”

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