5 imported Covid-19 cases among 5,134 travellers who have entered S'pore under Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme

The VTL scheme allows travellers vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter Singapore without having to serve a stay-home notice. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Of the 5,134 travellers who have entered Singapore under the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme so far, only five have tested positive for Covid-19.

Transport Minister S. Iswaran revealed these figures during a virtual media interview on Tuesday (Oct 26) as he announced plans to further expand the scheme to Australia and Switzerland from Nov 8.

The VTL scheme allows travellers vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter Singapore without having to serve a stay-home notice. Instead, they will take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction swab test before departure and after arrival in Singapore.

Short-term visitors and long-term pass holders have to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) to enter Singapore under the scheme. Singaporeans, permanent residents and children aged 12 and below do not need to apply for one.

Singapore started VTLs for travellers from Germany and Brunei on Sept 8. It extended the scheme to travellers from Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain and the United States on Oct 19.

It is due to start another VTL with South Korea on Nov 15.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said on Tuesday that as at Monday, 290 travellers from Brunei and 6,226 travellers from Germany received approval for travel to Singapore between Sept 8 and Nov 30.

Of these, 152 VTP holders from Brunei and 3,610 from Germany have entered Singapore so far.

Meanwhile, 8,583 travellers from the other VTL countries have received approval to travel to Singapore between Oct 19 and Nov 30, as at 11.59pm on Monday.

Of these, 1,372 travellers have entered Singapore.

Asked whether it is prudent for Singapore to expand the VTL scheme, given that the healthcare system is currently strained, Mr Iswaran reiterated that there are several precautions in place. These include capping the number of people entering through the VTLs and opening up to only countries in a less risky category.

On whether the Government considered public sentiment about the VTLs, Mr Iswaran said the VTLs facilitate travel into and out of Singapore.

"For example, if you are thinking about public sentiment, there are many in Singapore who have got families in these countries that they have to reconnect with physically," he said.

He added that the circumstances around travelling - both in Singapore and the countries it has opened up to - will continue to change based on how the pandemic develops.

He cited how Singapore could make adjustments in areas like testing requirements for VTL travellers, and added: "We are closely monitoring the flows and the circumstances, and we will also have to respond if circumstances change in a manner that raises the risk profile."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.