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Travellers on vaccinated travel lanes or from low infection regions to do unsupervised self-swab tests

Travellers on vaccinated travel lanes or from low infection regions to do unsupervised self-swab tests

FILE PHOTO: Passengers from Amsterdam arrive at Changi Airport under Singapore’s expanded vaccinated travel lane (VTL) quarantine-free travel scheme, as the city-state opens its borders to more countries amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Singapore Oct 20, 2021. (REUTERS/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: From Mar 15, travellers on vaccinated travel lanes or arriving from places with low infection rates will only need to do an unsupervised self-swab antigen rapid test (ART) within 24 hours of entering Singapore.

The move, which replaces the existing protocol requiring a supervised self-swab ART, comes as imported infection numbers have “stayed very low” over the past few weeks, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday (Mar 11).

These infections made up around 1 per cent of total daily infections, with many countries having already “passed the peak of their Omicron infection waves”, it added.

Macao, China and Taiwan are Category I countries/regions with low infection numbers.

Travellers will have to report their unsupervised self-swab ART test result via before proceeding with their activities in Singapore.

They will also still have to take a pre-departure test within 2 days before leaving for Singapore.

“These are important steps to take to prepare ourselves for a new Vaccinated Travel concept in the coming weeks, where fully vaccinated travellers generally need not apply for approval to enter Singapore, and will undergo simplified test requirements,” the ministry added.

It also encouraged travellers to visit the SafeTravel website to check on the latest border measures for their departure country before entering Singapore, and to be “prepared to adhere to the prevailing border measures upon entry into Singapore”.

Speaking at a press conference by the multi-ministry taskforce for COVID-19, co-chair Lawrence Wong said the authorities want to eventually introduce the concept of a “vaccinated traveller”, rather than have different VTLs with different countries/regions according to risk levels.

This would allow vaccinated travellers to enter Singapore, regardless of where they come from – except for a “very small group of countries … maybe because there are variants of concern then we will have to restrict travel for that particular group”, he said.

“But otherwise for the rest of the world, (the concept will) potentially allow for travel, so long as the person is vaccinated, and then there are appropriate tests that are done. So that's the broad concept.”

Watch the full news conference, including the Q&A session with journalists:

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Source: CNA/cl(ta)