From Apr 1, Singapore will allow fully vaccinated travellers and non-vaccinated children to enter quarantine-free and without the need to use Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) or apply for related passes, in a move that aviation analysts see as providing a boost to the travel and tourism sector.
Travellers will no longer be required to take only designated flights to enter Singapore quarantine-free, and will not have to take a Covid-19 antigen rapid test (ART) within 24 hours of arrival.
There will also be no more quotas on the number of daily arrivals and no entry approvals needed for all vaccinated travellers.
Fully vaccinated travellers will still need to take a pre-departure test within two days of leaving for Singapore, but will not have to take an antigen rapid test (ART) after arriving in Singapore.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said, “We will continue to monitor the local and global Covid-19 situations and consider removing the pre-departure test requirement in the coming weeks.”
The new travel scheme named the Vaccinated Travel Framework will replace the existing Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme.
The simplified regime under the Vaccinated Travel Framework applies to travellers arriving via air or sea checkpoints from countries or regions in the General Travel Category, provided that they had not, in the prior seven days, been in countries or regions in the Restricted Category. No countries are currently in the Restricted Category.
The new border policies will make the travel experience almost like that before the pandemic.
Non-fully vaccinated long-term pass holders and short-term visitors aged 13 and above are generally not allowed to enter Singapore.
But exemptions will be made for long-term pass holders medically ineligible for vaccines, long-term pass holders aged 13 to 17, and long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with other valid entry approvals.
These visitors are required to take a pre-departure test within two days before departure for Singapore, undergo a seven-day stay-home notice (SHN), and take a polymerase chain eaction test at the end of their SHN period.
Transport Minister S. Iswaran said at a press conference held by the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 that there will be several other changes with the reopening to all vaccinated travellers.
Air crew can resume normal activities in Singapore or overseas. They will be subject to similar testing requirements as vaccinated travellers.
Airport workers only need to put on surgical masks, except for those in higher-risk roles who will be required to wear a face shield and gloves. They will no longer be required to undergo regular Covid-19 testings.
The airport will no longer be segregated into zones, thus allowing all travellers to move around freely in the transit area.
Iswaran added, “This shift to the Vaccinated Travel Framework is a decisive step for Singapore and an important signal to the world – that Singapore has fully reopened its borders, that we are reconnecting with the world, and reclaiming Changi’s status as an international aviation hub.”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a televised speech on Thursday morning that the move to reopen to vaccinated travellers will give a much-needed boost to businesses, particularly those in the tourism sector, and help Singapore reclaim its position as a business and aviation hub.