Travellers may face tighter curbs in Europe with S'pore taken off EU list

Germany raised its Covid-19 risk alert for Singapore and classified the Republic as a "high-risk area" in October.
Germany raised its Covid-19 risk alert for Singapore and classified the Republic as a "high-risk area" in October.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - Thinking of heading to Europe for a year-end vacation? Singaporeans could now face stricter border restrictions after the Republic was removed from a list of countries for which travel curbs should be lifted.

The Council of the European Union announced the decision to take Singapore and Ukraine out of the list on Tuesday (Nov 9).

Singapore had remained on the list, which is reviewed every two weeks, when the previous assessment was conducted late last month.

On the factors considered when deciding whether to recommend travel restrictions for a particular country, the EU said: "They cover the epidemiological situation and overall response to Covid-19, as well as the reliability of the available information and data sources.

"Reciprocity should also be taken into account on a case-by-case basis."

The council's recommendation is not a legally binding instrument.

"The authorities of the member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation," added the council.

Its announcement on Tuesday could pave the way for the 27 countries in the EU to reimpose border restrictions on travellers from Singapore, although the immediate impact remains unclear.

In the last two months, Singapore had announced Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) with 10 countries in Europe - Denmark, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Britain.

These 10 countries had unilaterally opened up to Singapore prior to the Republic's announcement of the VTLs, thus allowing for two-way quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated travellers.

All the countries, except Britain and Switzerland, are member states of the EU.

When Germany raised its Covid-19 risk alert for Singapore and classified the Republic as a "high-risk area" last month, those flying over from the Republic were required to complete an additional digital entry registration.

It also meant that children who were not inoculated against Covid-19 will have to quarantine for five days upon arrival there.