COVID: Daily ART tests for VTL travellers to Singapore from 7 Dec

·Editorial team
·3 min read
Travellers check in for the flight at the Singapore Airlines counter in the departure hall at Changi International Airport in Singapore on December 2, 2021. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Travellers check in for the flight in the departure hall at Changi International Airport on 2 December 2021. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — All Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) travellers entering Singapore by air have to take an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) over seven days from 6 December, 11.59pm in addition to the existing testing requirements, the Ministry of Health said on Friday (3 December), amid concerns of more cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 around the world.

Currently, these travellers are to take an on-arrival polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, followed by supervised ART tests on Days 3 and 7.

“Essentially, besides the pre-departure and on-arrival tests, all travellers on VTL will be put on a daily testing regime over 7 days using ART,” MOH said.

The tests are all self-administered, and travellers will be required to submit the results of their self-administered ART online via a link which will be sent to them via their declared contact details after arrival in Singapore.

However, on Days 3 and 7, the tests will have to be done under supervision at a Combined Test Centre or Quick Test Centre. Day 3 is the median incubation period, and Day 7 is the day of exit from this testing protocol.

During this seven-day period, other than on days when they go out for their supervised tests, these travellers must test negative on their self-administered ART before going out for activities on that day.

The enhanced ART protocols will also apply to travellers arriving from Malaysia via VTL-land from 6 December 2021, 2359 hours. The additional measures will further enhance the current testing protocols for VTL-land, which include a pre-departure test and an on-arrival ART.

This enhanced testing regime will be in effect for four weeks until 2 January 2022, 11.59pm.

Last Friday, Singapore said it would extend its VTL scheme to six more countries in December: Cambodia, Fiji, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Turkey.

The latest move has increased the number of countries under the scheme from 21 to 27. In addition, the VTL quota would be increased from 10,000 to 15,000 travellers daily.

Testing regime for Vaccinated Travel Lane travellers from 6 December, 11.59pm. (TABLE: Ministry of Health)
Testing regime for Vaccinated Travel Lane travellers from 6 December, 11.59pm. (TABLE: Ministry of Health)

Expansion of travel restrictions to 3 more African countries

Amid growing transmissions of Omicron globally, Singapore will extend travel restrictions to more countries which have seen a spike in Omicron cases.

From 4 December 2021, 2359 hours, all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to Ghana, Malawi and Nigeria within the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter Singapore, or transfer or transit through Singapore. This restriction will apply to those who have obtained prior approval for entry into Singapore.

The restrictions will be in effect for four weeks and will be under review thereafter.

The latest move comes a week after Singapore imposed similar restrictions to travellers from seven African countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

MOH announced on Thursday the first two imported COVID-19 cases who tested preliminarily positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in Singapore on the same day. The cases, who arrived from Johannesburg in South Africa, are a 44-year-old male Singapore permanent resident and a 41-year-old Singaporean woman.

Meanwhile, due to the COVID-19 situation in Bulgaria, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway and Poland, these countries will be placed in Category III from 6 December 2021, 2359 hours.

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