SINGAPORE, March 11 — Singapore welcomed Malaysia’s announcement to reopen its border on April 1, noting that it can’t pre-determine the date of reopening on its side for now, according to the republic’s Multi Ministry Taskforce (MTF) on Covid-19.

At a virtual press conference today, the MTF’s co-chair Gan Kim Yong reiterated that the island-state is working out the detailed operation arrangements with its northern neighbour and will share more details when it is ready.

Gan, who is also the republic’s Trade and Industry Minister, said it will be looking at cars, motorcycles, and additional buses, including private coaches that would be engaged by companies for their workers to go to and fro.

The MTF was asked about the specific details that are being worked out as well as the benchmarks to decide for border re-opening and when it will happen.

“We are looking at the various aspects, and this also involves significant adjustment and fine-tuning of the operations on the ground.

“Bearing in mind that today we have a few thousand (Covid-19 cases) a day and in time to come we may have a significant number of people crossing on a daily basis,” said the minister.

Gan noted that “it is a major undertaking.”

“Our Land Transport Authority...our Immigration department are in close discussion with our (Malaysian) counterparts and also working out the operational details to ensure that when we are able to allow more traffic to cross (where) it can be done so smoothly and safely,” said Gan.

To the same question, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung pointed out the timing.

“The two Ministries of Health are in constant touch and I think we need to time it right... they must be done when the pandemic situation on both sides allows it.

“This is something also we don’t think we can pre-determine the date but this is something we are watching closely and when conditions allow then we can talk about reopening,” he added.

Singapore reported 16,165 new Covid-19 cases as of noon yesterday with six fatalities. — Bernama