SINGAPORE - From Friday (Aug 28), Singapore travellers to China will have to take a Covid-19 test within five days before their flight to the country, to ensure they are free of the coronavirus.
They must also declare that, in the last 14 days, they have not had a fever at or above 37.3 deg C, or respiratory symptoms, and have not been in contact with patients with a fever or respiratory symptoms, among other things.
These details were announced by the Chinese Embassy here on its website last Friday.
In June, Singapore and China announced a "fast lane" or "green lane" agreement that allows travellers from both sides to fly into each other's countries without serving a quarantine period of up to 14 days.
Instead, travellers must take a Covid-19 swab test 48 hours before departure and after they land. Last Friday's statement by the Chinese Embassy here spells out details and the paperwork required.
The embassy added on Monday that the test requirement has been or will be implemented in over 80 countries, following differing interpretations of the original announcement.
The test also came under the spotlight after local budget carrier Scoot accidentally sent a mass e-mail to customers on Tuesday saying that they must take a Covid-19 test before travelling to China.
The e-mail was intended for passengers on Scoot Flight TR100, which is departing for Guangzhou on Sunday, but was sent to other customers who have travelled with Scoot in the past, or have future bookings with the carrier.
Scoot apologised for the mistake and said it arose from a human error, and not a data security or hacking incident.
For the Covid-19 test, the Chinese Embassy said that at this stage, it does not designate specific institutions to carry out the test. Passengers can choose any hospital or clinic listed on the Singapore Ministry of Health's website.
After they have tested negative for Covid-19, passengers must e-mail their test result together with a scanned copy of a signed health declaration form and a photocopy of the bio page of their passport to the Chinese Embassy.
The embassy said it will take at least one working day to verify the documents. More details can be found on the embassy's website.
For the Guangzhou flight passengers who need to take the Covid-19 test, Scoot said in its e-mail that they must take it by Wednesday - between 9am and 10.30am at a regional screening centre at the former Shuqun Secondary School in Jurong East - if they do not have a scheduled test.
Passengers taking the test at the centre must pay $186 before their test results can be released to them.
MOH said on late on Tuesday on its website that travellers that need the Covid-19 tests done here before flying out to China on or after Sept 1 can write to the Government for help, depending on the nature of their travel.
For travel related to essential business and employment, they can write to the Ministry of Trade and Industry at COVID_SAFETRAVEL_IST@mti.gov.sg
For those travelling with work permits, S Passes and Special Passes issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), they can write to the ministry at www.mom.gov.sg/feedback
For people travelling for education and compassionate reasons, as well as on other grounds, they can write in to MOH at MOH_QSM@moh.gov.sg
MOH also advised travellers that they should ensure they have enough time to arrange for the test and get the test results in time for their flights to China.
The test results can take up to 48 hours to process, the ministry said.
But it added that Singapore’s national testing strategy is focused on diagnostic testing and active case finding in the community, as well as active surveillance testing on targeted groups who are deemed vulnerable or who have a higher risk of exposure to Covid-19.
“For now, pre-departure Covid-19 testing only applies to travellers under the green lane arrangements for essential business and official travels,” said MOH.