From The Straits Times    |
Vaccinated Travel Lane

Credit: 123rf

Travellers fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to fly in and out of Singapore to nine more countries without quarantine and with fewer swab tests in the coming weeks.

From Oct 19, vaccinated travellers from Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain and the United States will be able to enter Singapore without quarantine under the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme.

The scheme will be extended to South Korea from Nov 15, as announced by the Ministry of Transport on Oct 8.

There are now a total of 11 countries that Singapore has opened up VTLs to. Germany and Brunei came under the scheme last month.

Almost all of the countries are already open to Singapore, or will be open by the time the VTL starts.

Here is a look at what is needed to travel under the scheme:

Q: Is vaccination a must?

A: Travellers must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and have vaccination certificates that can be digitally verified.

An individual is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after he or she has received the full regimen of Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty, Moderna or other World Health Organisation Emergency Use Listing vaccines.

They must have been vaccinated in any of the VTL countries or Singapore.

Short-term visitors and long-term pass holders will need to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass to enter Singapore under the VTL.

But fully vaccinated Singapore citizens and permanent residents will be able to automatically tap the VTL without applying for the pass.

(Read also “What You Should Know About Singapore’s Covid-19 Booster Shots“)

Q: When are applications open?

A: Applications to enter under the VTL for the eight countries apart from South Korea will start from 10am on Oct 12, for entry into Singapore from Oct 19.

For those looking to travel from South Korea under the VTL, applications will start from 10am on Nov 8, for entry into Singapore from Nov 15.

(Here are “8 Ways To Fake A South Korea Holiday In Singapore“)

Travellers from Germany and Brunei have been able to apply for the VTL since last month.

More details are available on this website.

Q: Can unvaccinated children travel?

A: No, only vaccinated individuals are allowed to travel under the VTL. Hence, anyone who is unvaccinated, including children under 12, will not be allowed on VTL flights.

They can travel on non-VTL flights but will be subject to quarantine as with other passengers on these flights.

Q: What are the requirements for my travel history?

A: From Oct 19, VTL travellers must have remained in one or more of the VTL countries in the last 14 consecutive days prior to departure to Singapore.

If the traveller has been in Singapore within those last 14 days, his/her stay in Singapore can be counted towards fulfilling this 14-day travel history requirement.

An example of this could be a traveller who plans to leave Singapore on Oct 10, fly to Britain, and travel to France and then Spain, before returning on a VTL flight on Oct 19.

Q: How many tests do I have to take?

A: Testing requirements for travellers to Singapore under the VTL will be cut from Oct 19 to just a pre-departure test 48 hours before their flight and an on-arrival test.

Travellers will no longer have to take Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab tests on day three and day seven after their arrival in Singapore.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said the Health Ministry’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.

“The removal of the day three and day seven PCR tests will help reduce cost and improve convenience for VTL travellers,” added CAAS.

(Read also “What To Do If You Test Positive For Covid-19 Using ART Kit And Have No Symptoms“)

Q: What flights can I take?

Singapore Airlines has expanded its VTL network to 14 cities, with additional points expected in the coming weeks. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

A: Travellers must take designated VTL flights. More details about flights to the eight countries other than South Korea will be announced soon.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group said on Saturday that it has expanded its VTL network to 14 cities, with additional points expected in the coming weeks.

SIA will operate VTL services from Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, London, Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Paris and Rome starting from Oct 19.

The airline’s VTL services from Seoul will begin on Nov 16.

It currently operates VTL services from Bandar Seri Begawan, Frankfurt and Munich.

Scoot, SIA’s sister airline, will operate VTL flights from Berlin from Oct 20.

(Here are “7 Exciting Travel Experiences To Bookmark, From Korea’s Purple Islands To Australia’s Starry Skywalk“)

Q: What other requirements are there?

A: Short-term visitors who require a visa for travel to Singapore must separately obtain a visa. They are advised to do so after receiving approval to enter and before departing for Singapore.

They must also purchase travel insurance, with a minimum coverage of $30,000 for Covid-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs, prior to travel to Singapore.

Both visitors and residents also need to use the TraceTogether contact tracing app or token in Singapore.

This article was first published in The Straits Times.