ANKARA 

Singapore has received the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in Asia, officials announced Tuesday.

In a statement, Singapore Airlines (SIA) said it has delivered the first shipment of the vaccines to the country, making it the first in Asia to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.

“The delivery of this first batch of COVID-19 vaccines to Singapore is an important milestone in the fight against COVID-19, and we are honored to be able to play a part in this. It also served to demonstrate SIA’s and the Singapore air hub’s readiness for the very important job of transporting and distributing COVID-19 vaccines internationally,” said Chin Yau Seng, Senior Vice President Cargo SIA.

Last week, Singapore approved the vaccine which Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced would be administered free of charge and on a voluntary basis to all citizens and long-term residents.

The country is also set to further ease virus-related restrictions from Dec. 28.

According to the Health Ministry, social gatherings of up to eight people will be allowed, up from the current five.

Singapore reported 10 new novel coronavirus cases, including nine imported ones, over the past 24 hours, bringing the total caseload to 58,403. The death toll in the country stands at 29, according to the Health Ministry.

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