Singapore has expanded the number of travel lanes for fully vaccinated people, opening the door for quarantine-free trips to some of the city-state’s most popular holiday destinations.
Thailand, Cambodia, Fiji, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Turkey will be added to the so-called vaccinated travel lane programme from next month, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in a statement Friday.
Visitors from Thailand will be able to enter from Dec 14 while those from the five other places can come from Dec 16. Singapore will also increase its vaccinated travel lane quota to 15,000 travellers a day from 10,000.
Pre-Covid, Thailand, Cambodia, Maldives and Sri Lanka were “popular tourist destinations for Singaporeans. These countries have opened their borders to quarantine-free general travel for vaccinated travellers,” the CAAS said.
The inclusion of Turkey will “enable us to connect with another major aviation hub” while adding Fiji “will allow fully vaccinated travellers from other vaccinated travel lane countries which Fiji has opened to, such as Australia, Canada, France, the Republic of Korea, the UK and the US, to extend their trip to Singapore without quarantine.”
With 85% of its population inoculated, Singapore has been reopening its borders by allowing fully vaccinated people to enter and replacing mandatory quarantine with rigorous testing. The island nation kicked off its vaccinated travel lane program in early September with Germany and Brunei and has since added about 20 countries to the list, including India, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
With Friday’s announcement taking the number of vaccinated travel lane countries to 27, “this latest extension will further broaden Changi’s network and help reclaim and rebuild Singapore’s status as an international aviation hub with global connectivity,” the CAAS said, referring to Singapore’s airport.
Pre-Covid, those 27 countries contributed to about 60% of the total daily arrivals at Changi airport.
Singapore also gave an update on the number of people who have entered the country since the programme began.
As of Nov 26, 79,335 passes have been granted for entry between Sept 8 and Jan 27 next year, while 37,001 travellers have entered Singapore. Of those 37,001, 20,510 needed to apply for re-entry because they were short-term visitors or long-term pass holders.
Singapore citizens, permanent residents and children aged 12 years and below do not need to apply for re-entry approval.
Entry approvals from the United Kingdom are the highest, at 12,354. Within Asia, Malaysia tops the list at 6,704, followed by Australia at 6,280.
Singapore separately on Friday restricted travel from seven African countries as the new Covid-19 strain found in parts of the continent raises alarm.
People who have been in South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe in the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore from 11:59 pm local time on Saturday, the Ministry of Health said in another statement Friday.
The restriction will apply to those who had already obtained prior approval for entry into the city-state.
“Even as we continue to reopen our borders to secure our position as a global business and aviation hub, we will closely monitor the global public health situation, especially for the emergence of any new variants of concern, and impose additional safeguards as necessary,” Transport Minister S. Iswaran said during a media briefing Friday.
Source - The Bangkok Post