Singapore is gearing up to ditch its Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) system and reopen its doors to all vaccinated travelers worldwide.
The initiative, which began in September 2021, allows selected passengers from countries with which Singapore has a VTL agreement to enter the nation quarantine-free.
Australia, Canada, France, India, Israel, Qatar, the United Kingdom, and the United States are among the 30 countries that have joined the travel scheme.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung stated Singapore is working to accept fully vaccinated visitors from all nations without quarantine once the ongoing Omicron wave has peaked and begun to subside.
“Instead of having vaccinated travel lanes with selected countries that we think are low risk, we should actually allow [quarantine-free] travel for vaccinated travelers or fully-vaccinated travelers, from all countries,” Ong said at a Covid-19 Multi-Ministry Taskforce meeting last month.
While the city-state is reporting fewer cases than last month, the current daily average of 17,416 incidences may not be low enough to terminate the VLT scheme in the coming days.
On the plus side, 86.8% of the country’s 5.6 million inhabitants have been fully vaccinated.
For the time being, Singapore is committed to giving European travelers “greater flexibility for travel.”
The Singapore Civil Aviation Authority (CAAS) will expand the travel history requirement for VTLs to include the totality of the European Economic Area (EEA) and the EEA.
With this, “travelers who have been in any country in the EEA (including any transit stops) within the last seven consecutive days prior to departure to Singapore, may count his/her stay in the EEA country towards fulfilling the seven-day VTL travel history requirement.”
This benefit will apply to EU and EEA travelers entering Singapore on or after Mar. 16, 2022.
Testing at the airport may also be eased according to the minister: “We should actually emphasize less on (quarantine) and tests on travelers, but more on ensuring they are fully vaccinated and boosted.”
In fact, visitors to Singapore no longer need to undergo a $125 PCR test and quarantine at Changi Airport from Feb. 22.
Instead, travelers can take a rapid test at a certified testing center within 24 hours of arrival.
The recently implemented daily rapid-testing protocol for the first week has also been canceled.