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Singapore relaxes border restrictions and extends Vaccinated Travel Lane programme

The government of Singapore has announced that it is relaxing the COVID-19 border restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers next week and is also extending the Vaccinated Travel Lane programme.

The Ministry of Health of Singapore said that the country’s incidence rate is “now comparable with most overseas destinations” and therefore “imported cases are unlikely to affect the trajectory of local cases”. The country is streamlining its travel categories into three categories:

  • Category I – applies to visitors from countries with low infection rates (Macau, Mainland China and Taiwan)
  • General Travel – includes both VTL and non-VTL countries with different quarantine rules for each
  • Restricted – this will be used for countries/regions with concerning COVID-19 situations. Presently, there are no countries in this category

Starting 21st February 2022 23:59 hours, travellers under Category 1 and those travelling under VTL arrangements will no longer need to take a RT-PCR test upon arrival in Singapore and will be free from quarantine. Instead, they will have to take a supervised rapid antigen test within 24 hours of arrival in the country at one of the testing centres across Singapore.

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The new rules also include:

  • A reduction in the travel history requirement from 14 to 7 days.
  • The stay-home notice duration will be standardised to 7 days across all country and region categories in view of Omicron’s shorter incubation period.
  • Vaccinated long-term pass holders (except work permit holders) will no longer have to obtain a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) or an entry approval to enter Singapore. They will still need to adhere to border health measures on entry.

Singapore has also expanded the Vaccinated Travel Lanes, with VTL air quotas to be “fully restored with immediate effect”. The restoration of land quotas will follow on 22nd February 2022. The country will launch VTLs with Hong Kong, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. A sea VTL will also launch from Indonesia’s Bintan and Batam to Singapore (travellers from Indonesia can already fly into Singapore under a VTL arrangement).

Applications for travel from these areas will open on 22nd February 2022 at 10:00 hours, and the first flights and ferry trip will take place on 25th February 2022.

The Ministry of Health states that it will “progressively launch VTLs with more destinations” as it moves towards “facilitating fully vaccinated travel”.

What do you think of Singapore’s relaxed border restrictions? Let me know in the comments section below.

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