Singapore is preparing to take another step in post-pandemic travel, with the withdrawal of the Vaccinated Travel Lane system, as the country welcomes fully vaccinated visitors from all over the world.
Introduced in September 2021, the VTL program now extends to around 30 countries – including Australia – but the time has come to move on, says Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.
“Instead of having vaccinated travel corridors with selected countries that we believe are low risk, we should actually allow travel (without quarantine) for vaccinated travelers or fully vaccinated travelers, from all countries.”
As to when the VTL concept will be phased out, although Ong declined to set a specific date, he set a goal “after the (current) wave of Omicron peaks and begins to subside. “.
With signs that the wave is already waning, Singapore could align itself with many of its Asian neighbors to achieve what Transport Minister S. Iswaran described as “our ultimate goal (of) quarantine-free travel for all travelers vaccinated”. -state can reclaim its position as a global business and aviation hub.
Testing on arrival could also continue to be eased, with Ong saying “we should actually stress less on (quarantine) and testing travelers, but more on ensuring they are fully vaccinated and boosted”.
Since February 22, visitors to Singapore no longer need to undergo a PCR test and self-isolate upon arrival at Changi Airport, whose cost of S$125 was seen as a major hurdle business travel and tourism.
Instead, visitors arriving from countries that fall under the Vaccinated Travel Corridor Program need only take one supervised self-smear at a recognized testing center within 24 hours of arrival. The recently introduced regime of daily rapid tests during the first week has also been discontinued.
In addition, passengers transiting through Changi Airport no longer need to undergo a Covid test before departure – and when they arrive at the Asian super-hub they will be free to visit lounges, shops and restaurants. ‘other attractions rather than being limited to the lackluster transit waiting area.
This bodes well for Singapore Airlines, whose extensive global network is built around connecting flights at Changi, and it also bodes well for the resumption of Qantas’ flagship Sydney-Singapore-London route, which currently relies on Darwin as a temporary stopover but will return in Singapore. in June with the Airbus A380 superjumbo.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore explains that “along with other adjustments to travel measures, CAAS will also remove pre-departure testing requirements for all passengers transiting or transiting through Singapore.”
“This will help reduce costs, improve convenience and enhance Singapore’s attractiveness as a transfer/transit hub.”
Visitors to Singapore will no longer need to have stayed in a VTL country or county for 14 days before arriving in Changi, with this requirement reduced to seven days, making it easier to plan trips involving hops between multiple countries .