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On-arrival PCR test not mandatory from February 22, ET TravelWorld News, ET TravelWorld

by News Times USA

VTL travellers to Singapore from India: On-arrival PCR test not mandatory from February 22
In a major relief for Indian travellers planning to visit Singapore, new travel rules for Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) travellers are announced by the Singaporean government. In a communication, the Singapore Airlines (SIA) announced revision to entry and testing requirement and said that fully vaccinated passengers travelling to Singapore on VTL flights from Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai airports are no longer required to take an on-arrival PCR test at Changi Airport effective February 22. Instead, they will be required to take a supervised self-swab Antigen Rapid Test (ART) at any test centre located across Singapore within 24 hours of arrival.

The travel history requirement has also been reduced to seven days from 14 days as travellers must not have any travel history (including transit) outside of VTL countries/regions, or outside of countries/regions listed as Category I (Macao, Mainland China, and Taiwan) by Singapore’s Ministry of Health to be eligible for boarding a VTL flight. If the traveller has been in Singapore within those last seven days, his/her stay in Singapore can be counted towards fulfilling this seven-day travel history requirement.

Additionally, Long-Term Pass holders will no longer have to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) to travel to Singapore on a VTL flight. However, a VTP is still required for short-term visitors and work permit holders.

The city state will now open quarantine-free travel to Hong Kong, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this month. About two dozen countries are already in the vaccinated travel lane programme, including Australia, India, Malaysia, Britain and the United States. The country intends to eventually scrap vaccinated travel lanes for visitors from designated countries to allow entry to all vaccinated visitors without quarantine, authorities said.

According to the new rules, if the on-arrival ART test comes negative, no further ART/PCR tests are required throughout the visitor’s stay in Singapore. A testing notice with a weblink to book tests will be issued to travellers upon their entry into Singapore. Passengers departing from India and entering Singapore on the SIA’s VTL services are still required to furnish a negative PCR or professionally administered ART test within two days of flight departure.

The new changes to Singapore’s VTL entry and testing requirements follow the Singapore government’s announcement last month exempting VTL travellers from all testing requirements if they had recently recovered from Covid-19 (i.e., within 7 to 90 days of their last infection before departure to Singapore) and can provide appropriate documentary proof of their recovery. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) plans to lift the 50 per cent cap on the daily number of VTL travellers entering Singapore by air and progressively restore the VTL quota from 5,000 to 15,000 by March 4, 2022.

The flag-carrier of Singapore in an update said that starting January 21, travellers from India can now book VTL flights for quarantine-free travel into Singapore.

Singapore Airlines currently operates 52 flights to Singapore from eight cities in India, which includes daily, quarantine-free VTL services from Chennai, Delhi, and Mumbai. Singapore Airlines operates non-VTL services from Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Kochi, and passengers travelling to Singapore on these flights will need to adhere to the Travel and Health Control Measures laid down by the Singapore Government. Scoot, SIA’s low-cost subsidiary, operates non-VTL services from Amritsar, Hyderabad, and Tiruchirappalli.

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