Over 18,200 visitors from low-risk places arrived here on air travel pass

Visitors from China at Changi Airport in February. Some 70 per cent of the total number of travellers who entered Singapore under the air travel pass (ATP) scheme were from China.
Visitors from China at Changi Airport in February. Some 70 per cent of the total number of travellers who entered Singapore under the air travel pass (ATP) scheme were from China.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

More than 18,200 travellers have entered Singapore under the air travel pass (ATP) scheme since the Republic unilaterally opened its borders to places with low Covid-19 infection rates last September.

Replying to queries, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said yesterday that as at April 8, the bulk of these short-term visitors, who can come to Singapore without restrictions on their itineraries or the need to serve stay-home notices, were from China.

There were about 12,800 visitors from China, or 70 per cent of the total number.

About 2,400 visitors were from Australia and 300 were from New Zealand. About 800 visitors came from Brunei and another 800 were from Taiwan.

In addition, about 1,100 visitors arrived from Vietnam, but a spike in coronavirus cases there led to the suspension of ATP applications from the country since Feb 9.

The ATP scheme allows for all forms of short-term travel, including leisure travel.

This is in contrast with reciprocal green lane arrangements, which are usually only for essential business and official travel.

The scheme was announced in August last year and first opened to travellers from Brunei and New Zealand in September.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said then that the unilateral reopening of Singapore's borders to the two countries was a "small, cautious" step that could resuscitate Changi Airport. It was also an invitation to the world and signalled that Singapore is open for business.

Border restrictions were lifted for visitors from Australia - excluding Victoria state - and Vietnam in October.

The borders were opened to travellers from Victoria state and China a month later, and to visitors from Taiwan in December.

Travellers entering Singapore on an ATP must comply with a host of conditions. Upon arrival, they must take a Covid-19 test and self-isolate in non-residential accommodation, such as a hotel.

If they test negative, they are allowed to go about their activities, but must use the TraceTogether application during their stay here.

These visitors are responsible for their own medical bills if they require Covid-19 treatment.

Since February, they have also been required to buy travel insurance with a minimum coverage of $30,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2021, with the headline 'Over 18,200 visitors from low-risk places arrived here on air travel pass'. Subscribe