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Ticket sales for VTL flights, buses suspended between Dec 23 and Jan 20 amid Omicron variant spread: MTI, CAAS

SINGAPORE — The Singapore authorities are freezing the sale of flights here from all countries under the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) scheme, as well as bus tickets for travel into Singapore or Malaysia via the land border from Dec 23 (Thursday) until 11:59pm on Jan 20. This is in response to the growing threat of the Omicron coronavirus strain causing Covid-19.

Ticket sales for VTL flights, buses suspended between Dec 23 and Jan 20 amid Omicron variant spread: MTI, CAAS

People passing the control tower of Changi Airport.

  • The sale of flights and buses into Singapore under the vaccinated travel lane scheme will be frozen from Dec 23 until 11:59pm on Jan 20
  • For entry into Singapore from Jan 21 onwards, total ticket sales for both flights and buses will be halved
  • Travellers who already hold a ticket on a flight or bus and meet all the other requirements can continue to travel under the scheme

SINGAPORE — The Singapore authorities are freezing the sale of flights here from all countries under the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) scheme, as well as bus tickets for travel into Singapore or Malaysia via the land border from Dec 23 (Thursday) until 11:59pm on Jan 20. This is in response to the growing threat of the Omicron coronavirus strain causing Covid-19.

For entry into Singapore from Jan 21 onwards, total ticket sales for both flights and buses will be halved.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and adjust the VTL (land) capacity, taking into account the public health situation in both countries and globally," the ministerial Covid-19 task force said in a statement on Wednesday.

Travellers who already hold a ticket on a flight or bus under the arrangement and meet all the other requirements can continue to travel, the task force said.

It added that Singapore has been detecting more Omicron cases because of the rapid spread of the variant across many countries and regions. So far, there have already been 65 confirmed Omicron cases detected here.

“It is a matter of time before the Omicron variant spreads into our community,” it said.

“Our border measures will help to buy us time to study and understand the Omicron variant and to strengthen our defences, including enhancing our healthcare capacity and getting more people vaccinated and boosted.”

In a Facebook post, Transport Minister S Iswaran said that some people may be disappointed by the latest changes, but that it is an “essential and prudent measure to protect public health”.

“As part of our careful and calibrated approach to border reopening, it is crucial that we tighten our safeguards when warranted by the public health risk assessment, to protect the health and safety of our fellow Singaporeans, front-line aviation workers and travellers," he said.

AIRPORT WORKERS AND AIR CREW

In a statement on Wednesday, CAAS said that it will further step up safeguards and requirements to protect the aviation community with the following:

  • Enhanced personal protective equipment, including N95 masks and face shields for all airport workers who interact with arriving passengers. This includes those working in public areas such as taxi stands
  • All front-line airport workers will minimally be placed on a seven-day polymerase chain reaction (PCR) rostered routine testing, instead of the current seven-day antigen rapid test rostered cycle
  • For higher-risk front-line airport workers, there will be an employer-supervised antigen rapid test on the third day in between their seven-day PCR testing cycle
  • There will be an enhanced seven-day PCR routine testing regime with an employer-supervised antigen rapid test on the third day of the cycle for Singapore air crew

CAAS said that these safeguards are on top of measures already in place when the Omicron variant first emerged last month, which include tightening of testing protocol for vaccinated travellers and tightening of personal protective equipment and testing protocols for airport workers and air crew. 

“CAAS will continue to closely monitor the evolving Covid-19 situation and adjust the measures to protect travellers, airport workers, air crew and the community,” it added.

Related topics

Covid-19 coronavirus Omicron Covid-19 testing travel vaccination CAAS Changi Airport

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