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Singapore plans to eliminate vaccinated traffic lanes and reopen them to all countries

Singapore plans to eliminate vaccinated traffic lanes and reopen them to all countries

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Singapore is actually one of the toughest countries for foreigners to visit. Having remained practically sealed from the rest of the world for the best part of the pandemic, and not allowing pre-approved travelers arriving from specific countries to visit, the Asian hotspot can be finally lifting most of these strict requirements once the Omicron wave has completely receded, including the Vaccinated circulation routes.

Before the pandemic, the city-state has attracted millions of visitors from around the world, making up for its relatively small size with imposing skyscrapersall inclusive resorts, varied cuisine, and a vibrant nightlife. It is also a gateway to other Southeast Asia Destinationslike Thailand and Indonesia. Since early 2020, however, less and less tourists were welcomed, especially after Omicron.

Young female traveler jumping out of happiness on city vacation in Singapore in Southeast Asia

Singapore eyes return to pre-Covid normalcy after Omicron

As reported by Executive TravelerSingapore is currently make preparations to officially abolish its most restrictive covid entrance curbs, including vaccinated circulation pathways (VLT). At the height of the crisis, the country closed its borders to a majority of foreigners entering for tourism, allowing only those who have been vaccinatedand came from select locationsto land.

Singapore skyline at night

Moreover, these visitors were still needs to undergo extensive testing. While nations like United States, Canada and the UK were on the ALV list, which meant vaccinated americansthe Canadians and the British were allowed to visitthey were tested before departure, a PCR test on entry, which could cost up to USD 100.00, and further tests on days 2 and 7 of their stay.

While approved visitors continue to present a negative PCR result up to two days prior to travel, all other mandates for vaccinated persons traveling from an ALV country, such as the United States, no longer apply. In addition, the country’s Minister of Health, Ong Ye Kung, gave us strong indication this the entire VLT system may soon be scrappedbecause it is time for the country to “move on”.

Wide angle street view of Chinatown, Singapore

As Ong said at a press conference last month, Singapore should allow “travel without quarantine for vaccinated travelers” from all countries, instead of having bilateral vaccinated pathways with specific locations. While a date for the termination of the VLT list is not yet announced, Ong offered us a valuable insight when it could happen, and it could actually be earlier than expected.

When will the vaccinated traffic lanes be permanently removed?

Young asian man wearing face mask while checking departure board at airport

According to the Minister of Health, the target date is “after the current wave of Omicron peaked and began to calm down. Throughout Southeast Asia, several countries are registering drop in infection numbers that two or three months ago, with Omicron cases down sharply in the neighbor Indonesia. In Singapore, the the epidemiological scenario has also improved latelyalthough at one slower pace.

While the country is already reporting fewer infections compared to the February 25 peak, the daily average of 17,416 cases maybe still too high for the VLT lanes to be removed with immediate effect. On the other hand, daily deaths have plummetedand Singapore’s immunization program has also been a resounding successthe number of blows would have been sufficient to have vaccinated the 5 million inhabitants and more.

Travel passport for vaccines

Although Covid cases have yet to drop dramatically, the remaining positive trends observed may be a sign that the current Omicron wave recedes in Singapore. This raises hopes that the country will soon join a growing list of destinations in Asia open to travelers.

According to Transport Minister S. Iswaran, the “ultimate goal” is to offer quarantine-free travel for all vaccinated visitorsand reclaiming Singapore’s status as an international hub.

Airport staff at Singapore International Airport in South East Asia

During his statementthe Minister of Health also suggested on-arrival testing rules may soon be scrappedas the country points out less about quarantine and testing and more about the guarantee that those who visit are vaccinated and boosted.

With the recent update to entry guidelines, which removed the need for pre-departure testing, it is safe to suggest additional relaxation could happen soon, especially if the situation continues to improve.

Lion Fountain in Singapore, Southeast Asia

What is the status of international travel in Southeast Asia?

This week, Singapore has teamed up with some of its Asian partners to form a travel bubblewhich will see tourists allowed to move freely in the participating countries while bypassing most restrictions, especially if they can prove that they have been vaccinated. As the Omicron’s wave decreases with each passing day, travelers can expect more positive news emerging from Singapore regarding travel restrictions.

Singapore is not the only country on the continent making changes to its Covid border management and is moving towards the treatment of the disease as endemic. Recently we have had reports of reopening of borders throughout Asia, including Malaysia, Mongolia and a number of others. Additionally, bali again grants visas on arrival for foreigners, while lifting of the quarantine requirement to March 7, 2022.

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