Singapore to have VTL with 8 more countries, including UK, US

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Changi International Airport in Singapore.
Changi International Airport in Singapore. (PHOTO: Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) will be opened for fully-vaccinated travellers from eight more countries to Singapore from 19 October: Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"All eight countries are already open to travellers from Singapore. So the VTLs will restore two-way quarantine-free travel between Singapore and them," said Transport Minister S Iswaran during a COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce media conference on Saturday (9 October).

The new VTLs are in addition to the Ministry of Transport's announcement on Friday of the setting up of mutual VTLs between Singapore and South Korea from 15 November. 

Together with the implemented VTLs for Brunei and Germany last month, this brings the total number of countries with VTLs to Singapore from two to 11.

"Collectively, these countries accounted for about 10 per cent of our pre-COVID annual passenger arrivals at Changi Airport," Iswaran said. 

"They rank among our top 20 trading partners. They have significant investments, a strong business presence, and sizeable communities in Singapore. It is, therefore, important that we reconnect with them early."

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in a media release on Saturday that VTL travellers from these countries may enter Singapore without quarantine and just need to undergo COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.

PCR tests reduced from four to two for VTL travel

Furthermore, the number of COVID-19 PCR tests will be reduced from four to two for VTL travellers entering Singapore on or after 19 October. 

They will need to undergo a pre-departure test within 48 hours before departing to Singapore and obtain a negative test result, as well as an on-arrival test at Changi Airport and remain self-isolated until the test result is confirmed to be negative. 

However, they will no longer need to undergo Day-3 and Day-7 PCR tests.

"The Ministry of Health's public health assessment is that the pre-departure test and on-arrival test provide sufficient safeguards for detecting and isolating imported COVID-19 cases," CAAS said in the media release. 

"The removal of the Day 3 and Day 7 PCR tests will help reduce cost and improve convenience for VTL travellers."

Iswaran said that of the over 3,100 travellers who have entered Singapore from Brunei and Germany via the respective VTLs, there have only been two imported COVID-19 cases, both of which were detected during their on-arrival PCR tests. The post-arrival tests on Day 3 and Day 7 detected no imported cases.

Flexibility in travelling among VTL countries

From 19 October, travellers must have remained in any of the VTL countries in the last 14 consecutive days prior to departure to Singapore. The list of VTL countries includes South Korea from 15 November. If a traveller has been in Singapore within those last 14 days, the stay can be counted towards fulfilling this 14-day travel history requirement.

This provides a degree of flexibility in travelling to multiple VTL countries in a single trip. For instance, a traveller will be able travel a few days each in France, Germany and Spain before returning to Singapore.

VTL travellers entering Singapore can present vaccination certificates issued in any VTL country or Singapore, regardless of which VTL country the traveller departs from. However, only vaccination certificates that can be digitally verified will be accepted.

They must also travel into Singapore on designated VTL flights, which would be announced later by the individual airlines. 

"We will start with a total of up to 2,500 daily arrivals across the nine VTL countries," Iswaran said. "Together with the two current VTLs, this means up to 3,000 travellers may enter Singapore daily through the VTLs."

Travellers may transit via another VTL country to take a designated VTL flight into Singapore. For example, a traveller from the US may transit via Germany to take a designated VTL flight from Germany to Singapore.

Travellers who are transferring or transiting through Singapore will also be allowed to travel on the designated VTL flights. These travellers must present vaccination certificates, have remained in one or more of the VTL countries and/or Singapore in the last 14 consecutive days prior to the flight, and be required to take a pre-departure PCR test within 48 hours before departing to Singapore.

More details on the VTL requirements into Singapore can be found on the SafeTravel website. Travellers are also advised to check the entry requirements imposed by these places and take the necessary precautionary measures.

INFOGRAPHIC: CAAS
INFOGRAPHIC: CAAS

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