Singapore sends vaccines to neighbors as region seeks to reopen

  • September 29, 2021
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Singapore is contributing vaccines to its neighbors amid a regional effort to reopen its economies.

Thailand and Indonesia each received 122,400 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the city-state this week, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in statements. It also sent 100,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine to Brunei Darussalam, in exchange for the same quantity back at a later date, according to the ministry on Wednesday.

Higher vaccination rates are seen as key for many of the Southeast Asian countries seeking to reopen their tourist-dependent economies, though they continue to grapple with limited supply. The Thai cabinet approved this week an additional purchase of 60 million shots of AstraZeneca. Meanwhile, Indonesia’s vaccination rate is lagging behind almost every major economy in the region, with less than 20% of its population fully inoculated.

Thailand is eying a reopening of its tourism economy in November, while Indonesia is seeking to welcome vaccinated tourists back to Bali’s beaches next month. Singapore’s foreign affairs minister Vivian Balakrishnan recently said that relaxations of travel curbs with its neighbors are being “actively discussed,” though the country’s priority is to control the pandemic at home, according to a report in The Straits Times. — Bloomberg