Vaccinated Travel Lane bookings will be frozen from today to 20 January next year.
Singapore has announced a freeze on all new Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) bookings from all VTL countries from 23 December 2021 until 20 January 2022. However, existing bookings on VTL flights will be allowed, so if you already had bought a ticket for a VTL flight to Singapore, you will still be allowed to enter.
According to the new rules, if you enter through a VTL, you’ll have to undergo additional COVID-19 testing on days three and seven upon arrival in Singapore.
Travellers (excluding Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) with travel/transit history in the past 14 days to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe are not permitted to enter or transit Singapore.
This government announcement came amid a rising number of infections worldwide attributed to the fast-spreading Omicron Covid-19 variant. Under the VTL programme, fully vaccinated travellers from designated countries were allowed quarantine-free entry. Included among the designated countries were Australia, India, Malaysia, Britain and the United States.
But the new announcement today stops passengers from these VTL countries from entering or even transiting through Singapore for the next four weeks.
In a statement released today, the Singapore Health Ministry has said, “Our border measures will help to buy us time to study and understand the Omicron variant, and to strengthen our defences, including enhancing our healthcare capacity, and getting more people vaccinated and boosted.”
The government also announced it would reduce VTL quotas and ticket sales for travel after 20 January. The total number of VTL tickets issued would be capped at 50% of the previously allocated quota. However, passengers who already hold tickets on VTL flights and meet all other vaccination requirements can still travel under the programme.
In the statement released today, the government has also urged people arriving in Singapore to exercise precautionary measures, including minimising their social interactions, avoid large gatherings and eating out for seven days even if their tests, which they have to take every day for the week, come out as negative.
These steps by the government come at a time when Singapore has announced 65 imported Omicron cases along with a handful of locally transmitted ones. With the measures it has announced, the Singapore government hopes to reduce community transmission further.