Singapore has relaxed its entry requirements, in that, from April 1, all travellers that have been fully vaccinated and children under the age of 12 will be able to enter Singapore with just a pre-departure test.
With this, travellers shall no longer be required to board only designated flights to enter Singapore quarantine-free. Additionally, they no longer have to take the Covid-19 antigen rapid test (ART) during the first day of arrival.
The maximum number of accepted entries per day has been scrapped and all vaccinated travellers can enter the country without entry approvals. These have been done in an effort to resume a seamless travel experience to and from Singapore like that prior to the pandemic.
Currently employed Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme will be replaced by a new travel scheme named Vaccinated Travel Framework.
On March 24, The Ministry of Health (MOH) said that test requirements 2 days before departure will remain in place for the time being.
"We will continue to monitor the local and global Covid-19 situations and consider removing the pre-departure test requirement in the coming weeks,” said MOH.
At a press conference on COVID-19 convened by the multi-ministry task force, Transport Minister S. Iswaran said that various adjustments to the reopening will be implemented.
Air crews can return to their regular duties in Singapore or elsewhere. They'll have to go through the same testing as vaccinated travellers.
Except for individuals in higher-risk professions, who must wear a face shield and gloves, airport personnel just need to wear surgical masks. They will no longer be needed to take Covid-19 tests on a regular basis.
The airport will no longer be divided into zones, allowing all passengers to freely roam about the transit area.
Mr Iswaran remains cautious, however, stating that Singapore must promptly re-implement public health protocols if the Covid-19 situation goes awry.
He added: “This shift to the Vaccinated Travel Framework is a decisive step for Singapore and an important signal to the world – that Singapore has fully reopened its borders, that we are reconnecting with the world, and reclaiming Changi’s status as an international aviation hub.”
On March 24, in a televised speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the initiative to welcome fully vaccinated travellers is a much needed move to boost the crippling tourism sector, and is an effort to help Singapore rebound to its position as a top tourist hub.
The government has set a goal for this year to restore air travel to 50% of what it was before the Covid-19 outbreak.
In February of this year, the overall number of passenger movements via Changi was 13.7% lower than in February of the previous year, before the pandemic.
The reopening, according to Philip Goh, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) regional vice-president for Asia-Pacific, will allow airlines to expand their services. He went on to say that removing pre-departure testing will help the aviation industry get back on track in the future.
“We have seen other significant moves in the region to reopen borders recently, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. This means many key markets in Asia will become more accessible to each other, restoring crucial air connectivity to the rest of the world,” said Mr. Goh.