Beginning October 19, fully vaccinated travellers from the United Kingdom and the United States will be allowed to enter Singapore quarantine-free under the city-state’s biggest move to reopen its borders and kickstart international travel since the start of the pandemic.
Along with the UK and USA, quarantine travel lanes will be opened with Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, and Spain from the same date. Travellers from South Korea will also be able to travel to Singapore quarantine-free beginning November 15.
The announcement was made shortly before Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Singaporeans that a zero-COVID strategy was no longer feasible and that people should learn to live with the virus now that the vast majority of the population had been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Singapore opened its first two vaccinated travel lanes or VTL’s as they are known with Germany and Brunei last month as part of an experiment to test quarantine-free travel with countries where COVID-19 is endemic.
Since the beginning of the experiment, more than 3,100 travellers from Germany and Brunei have entered Singapore and only two travellers went on to test positive for COVID-19 and both of these cases were detected at the airport on arrival.
Based on the initial results of the experiment, Minister for Transport S Iswaran said he would make travel to Singapore through the VTL’s significantly easier by slashing the number of PCR tests required from four to just two.
To take advantage of the VTL, travellers must:
- Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have proof of vaccination in the form of an authenticated digital certificate
- Take two PCR tests – the first a maximum of 48-hours before departure and the second on arrival.
- Submit an application to travel under the VTL scheme prior to departure. Applications open for expanded range of countries from October 12.
Travellers will be accepted if they were vaccinated in any of the approved VTL countries and they can move freely between different VTL countries in the 14-days prior to travelling to Singapore.
For travellers from Canada and the United States, paper vaccination certificates will not be accepted and only digital vaccination certificates issued in the Smart Health Card format on the CommonTrust Network will be accepted.
For the time being, only travellers on specially designated VTL flights will be allowed to enter Singapore through the scheme and this will be capped at a maximum of 3,000 daily arrivals from all 11 countries.
“We will monitor the incidence rate, observe the demand, before deciding on any further increases in capacity,” commented Iswaran.
“Collectively, these countries accounted for about 10% of our pre-COVID annual passenger arrivals at Changi Airport,” the minister continued.
“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.”
Iswaran said Singapore was already in talks with other countries to open more reciprocal travel lanes.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.