S'pore eases border measures for more South-east Asian countries; new VTLs launched with Finland and Sweden

Travellers from Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines will see more relaxed border measures. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Passengers arriving from Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines are among those who will see more relaxed border measures from Nov 11, the authorities in Singapore announced on Monday (Nov 8).

Travellers from these countries will be allowed to present a negative, professionally administered antigen rapid test (ART) taken within two days prior to departure for Singapore.

It is an alternative to the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction tests currently required.

The Government on Monday also announced that 23 countries previously deemed by Singapore to be of the highest risk of Covid-19 infections, including Laos and India, will have more border restrictions relaxed.

From Nov 11, travellers from these countries will be allowed to serve a 10-day stay-home notice (SHN) at home or at a hotel of their choice. They are currently required to do so at an SHN dedicated facility.

Singapore will also add three new vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs), with Malaysia, Sweden and Finland, and increase the daily quota to 6,000 travellers in total from Nov 29. The current daily quota is 4,000 travellers.

VTL travellers will also be allowed to present a professionally administered negative ART test before flying to Singapore.

Vaccinated travellers will be able to take flights between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport without quarantine from Nov 29.

There will be six designated flights for quarantine-free travel between the countries for a start. Applications for the scheme will start from Nov 22.

Travellers from Sweden and Finland can also apply for VTL travel from the same date, for quarantine-free travel from Nov 29. Both Sweden and Finland already allow entry to people travelling from Singapore.

Finland and Sweden both allow entry to people travelling from Singapore. PHOTOS: VISIT FINLAND, AFP

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling the pandemic, said that despite rising cases in Europe, infection rates there are "not out of control" and remain lower than Singapore's 46 cases out of every 100,000 people.

Denmark and Germany are seeing about 28 cases per 100,000 people and in Spain, the rate is below five per 100,000.

Transport Minister S. Iswaran said Singapore's VTL experience thus far has given it the confidence to further expand the programme.

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He pointed out that as at Nov 7, close to 18,000 people have entered Singapore via the VTL scheme. Of this, 17 have tested positive - about one in every 1,000.

"We will reopen in a careful and calibrated manner, with essential safeguards to protect public health," he said.

Read next - S'pore eases Covid-19 rules from Nov 10: What you need to know

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