Singapore travellers can still enjoy quarantine-free travel to European VTL countries, minus Denmark

Some would-be travellers here have taken comfort in the lack of quarantine requirements in the VTL countries so far.
Some would-be travellers here have taken comfort in the lack of quarantine requirements in the VTL countries so far.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Vaccinated Singapore residents will still be able to travel without quarantine to seven of the eight European countries that have vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) with the Republic.

According to their border regulations, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Britain have yet to reimpose compulsory quarantine on travellers from Singapore despite the European Union (EU) raising its Covid-19 risk assessment of the Republic on Nov 9.

Finland and Sweden, two other European countries that will start VTLs with Singapore from Nov 29, have also not introduced quarantine curbs on travellers from Singapore.

This leaves Denmark as the only VTL country to have reimposed quarantine restrictions. Since last Thursday (Nov 11), travellers from Singapore have to serve between four and 10 days of isolation after arrival.

Denmark's move comes after the Council of the EU removed Singapore from a list of countries for which travel curbs should be lifted.

The council's recommendations on border restrictions, which were updated on Nov 9, are not legally binding. But its 27 EU member states, which do not include Britain and Switzerland, reference the recommendations when deciding on their border restrictions.

A British official told The Straits Times the changes by the EU do not impact Britain's independent travel rules. Britain left the EU bloc in January last year.

An Italy embassy official said: "Travellers heading from Singapore to Italy will not be affected by the EU recommendation."

Italy's current border measures for Singapore, which applies between Oct 26 and Dec 15, allow vaccinated travellers to enter without quarantine, the official said.

Finland's ambassador to Singapore, Mr Antti Vanska, said his government tracks the international Covid-19 situation closely and occasionally changes travel restrictions when needed.

He said the embassy will not predict any future decision by his government, but he noted that fully vaccinated individuals will be able to enter Finland without quarantine based on current rules.

Endau Analytics aviation analyst Shukor Yusof said it seems likely that more western European nations could impose stricter rules to prevent a resurgence of Covid-19, as the newly imposed domestic restrictions in the Netherlands show.

"Whether more limitations will be imposed on travellers from Singapore remains the prerogative of each EU state," Mr Shukor added. "I believe nothing is off the table in the Covid-19 battle."

Some would-be travellers here have taken comfort in the lack of quarantine requirements in the VTL countries so far.

Swedish national Andreas Birnik, 48, who is a Singapore permanent resident, said he and his friends were worried that EU member states would reimpose more restrictions on travellers from the Republic.

The business owner had already booked tickets to return to Sweden to see his parents after 2½ years of not meeting them in person.

"I am relieved that, so far, other EU countries have not followed Denmark," he said.

"After living with Covid-19 for 20 months, I hope that we can look forward to bidirectional travel between Singapore and the EU without reimposed quarantine from either side."