Singapore said Friday it will reopen its doors to tourists from Brunei and New Zealand from Sept. 8, marking the first time since March this year when it banned the entry of such visitors due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

"This is a small cautious step to start to reopen aviation and resuscitate Changi Airport as well as Singapore Airlines," Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung told reporters.

People dine at an eatery on tables installed with acrylic table shields to minimize contact on June 19, 2020 in Singapore. (Getty/Kyodo)

"As a small open economy, to survive, we have got to keep our borders open. To earn a living, we have to have connections with the world, and to thrive and prosper, we must be an aviation hub."

He said Brunei and New Zealand "have really controlled the epidemic situation very well," with both countries having an incidence rate of well below 0.1 infections per 100,000 population.

Travelers who have remained in these two countries in the last consecutive 14 days prior to their arrival in Singapore will only be required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival, but will not have to isolate themselves for a certain number of days like travelers arriving from other places.

Ivan Tan, spokesman of the Changi Airport Group, welcomed the announcement on the reopening of "inbound leisure travel" from New Zealand and Brunei, saying "this is indeed good news for Changi Airport, and it is an encouraging start to what we hope will be a gradual resumption of air travel to and from Singapore."

Singapore has had just over 56,000 cases of COVID-19 so far but most of them have occurred in the migrant workers dormitories that have been locked down, and only 27 deaths related to the virus.

Commuters wearing protective mask ride the train on June 2, 2020 in Singapore. (Getty/Kyodo)