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VTL quotas to be fully restored; quarantine-free sea travel between S'pore, Bintan and Batam to start on Feb 25

SINGAPORE — Quotas for vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) by air will be fully restored with immediate effect and border measures will be streamlined as Singapore looks to further facilitate vaccinated travel, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Wednesday (Feb 16). 

Border measures will be streamlined and vaccinated travel lane quotas will be fully restored, the Ministry of Health announced on Feb 16, 2022.

Border measures will be streamlined and vaccinated travel lane quotas will be fully restored, the Ministry of Health announced on Feb 16, 2022.

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  • A new single general travel category will replace the current classification of countries and regions from Categories II, III and IV
  • There will be a new restricted category for countries and regions with developing Covid-19 situations that warrant stricter border measures
  • Vaccinated travel lane quotas for air travel will be fully restored with immediate effect 
  • The quota for travel lane by land to Malaysia will be fully restored from Feb 22
  • A new travel lane with Hong Kong and previously deferred ones with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will also be launched

SINGAPORE  — Quotas for vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) by air will be fully restored with immediate effect and border measures will be streamlined as Singapore looks to further facilitate vaccinated travel, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Wednesday (Feb 16). 

It said in a press statement that bi-directional quarantine-free sea travel between Singapore and Indonesia will also resume with the launch of the travel lane scheme by sea from Bintan and Batam.

MOH said that it decided on easing border measures given that Singapore’s incidence rate is now comparable with most overseas destinations, and imported cases are unlikely to affect the trajectory of domestic cases.

"Our focus has thus shifted to facilitating inflows from travellers who are less likely to become severely ill and burden our healthcare capacity while they are in Singapore," it added.

Among the changes that will be introduced is a new, single, general travel category to replace the current classification of countries and regions from Categories II, III and IV, as well a new restricted category. 

The new restricted category is for countries and regions with developing Covid-19 situations that warrant stricter border controls. 

MOH said that there are no countries or regions in the restricted category for now. 

Along with the new categorisation, MOH and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said that they will be making the following changes for travellers arriving from 11.59pm on Feb 21: 

  • Travel history requirement will be reduced from 14 to seven days
  • The duration of stay-home notices will be set at seven days across all countries and regions 
  • The enhanced testing regime for vaccinated travellers arriving on the travel lanes will be stopped
  • Vaccinated travellers on the travel lane scheme and travellers from Category I countries will no longer need to perform an on-arrival polymerase chain reaction test. Instead, they will have up to 24 hours from when they enter Singapore to take a supervised self-swab antigen rapid test at one of the testing centres located here
  • Long-term pass holders who are vaccinated will no longer need to obtain a vaccinated travel pass or an entry approval to enter Singapore. This change, however, does not apply to work permit holders 
  • All passengers transferring or transiting through Singapore will no longer need to take a pre-departure test

TRAVEL LANE BY SEA

Singapore will be launching the first travel lane arrangement via sea from Batam and Bintan in Indonesia, as part of the country's efforts "to gradually restore transport connectivity", the Maritime Port Authority said.

For a start, 350 travellers will be allowed from Nongsapura International Ferry Terminal in Batam every week to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore, and another 350 travellers weekly from Bandar Bintan Telani Ferry Terminal in Bintan to Tanah Merah here. 

Ferry services will be operated by Batam Fast and Bintan Resort Ferries. 

Applications for this will open at 10am on Feb 22, with the first ferry trip taking place on Feb 25. 

"The VTL (Sea) will benefit users of Indonesia’s travel bubble to specific resorts in Bintan and Batam and facilitate short-term leisure travel," MOH said.

QUOTAS TO BE RESTORED

MOH also announced on Wednesday that the travel lane quota for air travel will be fully restored with immediate effect, while the quota for land travel to Malaysia will be fully restored from Feb 22.

Sales for additional bus tickets will open up on Wednesday, it added. 

CAAS said in a statement on Thursday that the move will put back on track Singapore's plans to reopen its borders safely and "reclaim Singapore's position as a global air hub".

It added that the travel lane quota for air travel will be progressively restored from 5,000 to 15,000 by March 4. 

A new travel lane arrangement with Hong Kong and the previously deferred one with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will also be launched, with applications for these travel lanes opening from 10am on Feb 22 and the first flights taking place from Feb 25.  

The travel lane with Thailand will be extended to beyond its capital Bangkok and will include flights from all other cities there. 

Singapore has also established new arrangements for vaccinated travellers with Israel and the Philippines, with visitors from these countries allowed to enter Singapore without having to serve a quarantine period from March 4. Applications for these countries open at 10am on March 1. 

CAAS said that as of Tuesday, Singapore has established travel lanes with 24 countries, with 389,046 travellers having entered the country under the scheme. 

Related topics

Covid-19 vaccination travel Bintan Batam hong kong Thailand

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