Singapore is stepping up Covid testing at its border to stave off the new omicron variant that has been discovered in many countries around the world. 

The city-state, which has been establishing so-called vaccinated travel lanes to allow entry for fully-inoculated people, will also freeze all new arrangements of this kind as “it’s the prudent thing to do for now,” officials said during a briefing on Tuesday. Any further relaxation on social-distancing measures will also be halted, they said, just as rules were recently eased to allow five people to gather.

“While we have not detected this new variant among local cases yet, it is only a matter of time before it will arrive in Singapore,” Trade Minister Gan Kim Yong, who co-chairs a virus taskforce, said. “As more data becomes available in the coming weeks, we must be prepared to further adjust our measures if necessary to ensure that the situation remains under control before we continue on our reopening journey.” 

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