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Two-way quarantine-free travel between Singapore and Batam, Bintan from Feb 25

Two-way quarantine-free travel between Singapore and Batam, Bintan from Feb 25

The Indonesian government announced a travel bubble between Batam Nongsapura, Bintan Lagoi and Singapore at the end of January 2022. (Photo: Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy)

SINGAPORE: Singapore will launch vaccinated travel lane (VTL) arrangements via sea from Batam and Bintan in Indonesia from Feb 25, as part of efforts to gradually restore transport connectivity.

Applications for the vaccinated travel pass will open at 10am on Feb 22, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said in a press release on Wednesday (Feb 16).

At the moment, Indonesia allows travellers from Singapore to travel under its travel bubble to Nongsapura International Ferry Terminal (NIFT) in Batam and Bandar Bintan Telani Ferry Terminal (BBTFT) in Bintan, without the need for quarantine.

For a start, up to 350 travellers from Batam and another 350 from Bintan will be allowed to travel weekly under the VTLs to Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.

The designated ferry services between the three terminals will be operated by regional ferry operators - Batam Fast and Bintan Resort Ferries.

Those entering Singapore under this VTL sea arrangement must be fully vaccinated and able to produce a physical or digital proof of vaccination recognised by Singapore authorities.

Travellers will also have to take two COVID-19 tests. The first is a pre-departure test which must be a polymerase chain reaction test or a professionally administered antigen rapid test (ART) within two days of departure and obtain a negative test result.

Upon arrival in Singapore, travellers will have to take a supervised ART test at quick test centres or combined test centres within 24 hours, and remain self-isolated until their test result is confirmed to be negative.

These travel requirements are aligned with prevailing requirements for travel under the existing VTL air arrangements, said MPA.

ADDITIONAL ENTRY RULES FOR SHORT-TERM VISITORS

The MPA also announced additional entry requirements for short-term visitors, who will need to apply for a sea vaccinated travel pass to enter Singapore under the newly-announced VTLs.

Short-term visitors who require a visa for travel to Singapore must separately obtain a visa.

"These travellers are advised to apply for their visa after receiving their vaccinated travel pass (sea) approval and before departing for Singapore," MPA said.

In addition, they must also purchase travel insurance plans that have a minimum coverage of S$30,000 for COVID-19 related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs prior travelling to Singapore, as well as use the TraceTogether app in Singapore to facilitate contact tracing.

Other requirements include the need for these travellers to show proof of a hotel booking confirmation and payment for their time in Singapore and present a return ferry ticket that corresponds with the duration of their hotel stay here.

Singapore citizens, permanent residents, long-term pass holders and children aged 12 years and below who are fully vaccinated do not need to apply for a vaccinated travel pass to enter Singapore under the VTL sea arrangements.

MPA said details of the VTL travel requirements and applications for the vaccinated travel pass will be available online from Feb 22.

As part of a “pivot” in its travel posture, authorities also announced on Wednesday that quotas for VTLs will be restored and progressively increased, while border measures will be streamlined.

Speaking at a multi-ministry task force press conference, Transport Minister S Iswaran said: “As we learn to live with COVID-19 and Omicron, it is essential that we progressively open our air and sea borders.

“These steps will restore and expand our VTLs and put our border reopening back on track. They will enable us to carefully restore our connectivity, especially with our regional neighbours.”

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Source: CNA/sk(ac)

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