S'pore travellers to Denmark have to serve quarantine; more curbs by European nations likely, says expert

Travellers from Singapore will now have to serve a 10-day self-isolation period upon arrival in Denmark. PHOTO: UNSPLASH

SINGAPORE - Singapore residents will no longer be able to enjoy two-way quarantine-free travel with Denmark, after the country reclassified Singapore as a country with a high risk of Covid-19 infections.

Owing to the reclassification, travellers from Singapore will have to serve a 10-day self-isolation period upon arrival in Denmark, the Embassy of Denmark said on Thursday (Nov 11) in a Facebook post.

This isolation period can be shortened should a traveller have a negative result from a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction test that can be taken from the fourth day after his entry.

Singapore announced vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) in Europe in the past two months for Denmark, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Britain.

The VTLs with these countries are unilateral moves by Singapore. They let travellers who are vaccinated against Covid-19 enter Singapore without having to serve a stay-home notice.

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.

Denmark's move to impose quarantine requirements on travellers from Singapore comes after the Council of the European Union 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 Tuesday, are not legally binding. But its 27 EU member states reference the recommendations when deciding on their border restrictions.

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

Other than Denmark, the Netherlands has also increased its risk assessment for Singapore.

The Embassy of the Netherlands in Singapore said on Wednesday that Singapore is now deemed to be a very high-risk area in terms of Covid-19 infections.

Therefore, travellers from Singapore arriving in the Netherlands on or after this Saturday will need to show a negative Covid-19 test result. This applies to all travellers aged 12 or above, regardless of their vaccination or recovery status.

The embassy also said that there will be an EU travel ban for non-vaccinated travellers from high-risk countries from Thursday.

In response to media queries, Mr Daniel Ng, director of air transport at the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, said countries have the flexibility to adjust their respective border measures to take into account the Covid-19 situation.

He said fully vaccinated travellers from the VTL countries in the European Union may continue to enter Singapore without quarantine, despite the EU council removing Singapore from the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted.

"Travellers from Singapore to these countries may, however, be subject to additional entry requirements," added Mr Ng.

"Travellers are therefore advised to check entry requirements, as they could vary across countries."

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A travel expert based in Britain told The Straits Times that more border restrictions are likely to be imposed on travellers from Singapore following the EU council's move.

Mr Ralph Hollister, a travel and tourism analyst at analytics firm GlobalData, said the firm's data showed that not one EU destination featured in Singapore's top 10 outbound travel list for the last year.

He said this point may be factored into the decision-making processes of EU countries when deciding on whether to place restrictions upon Singapore, as they may be confident in receiving solid visitation numbers from more established markets.

"If EU countries were to impose restrictions on Singapore, they may revert to imposing set quarantine periods upon arrival, which may vary from country to country," he said.

"Additional testing may be put in place for even fully vaccinated travellers, along with the filling out of additional registration forms for tracking purposes," he added.

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