Singapore vaccinated Travel Lane may be expanded to more places soon; one traveller so far tested Covid-19 positive on arrival

Transport Minister S. Iswaran said today that Singapore has so far received 2,500 VTL applications . — TODAY pic
Transport Minister S. Iswaran said today that Singapore has so far received 2,500 VTL applications . — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Sept 20 — The Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) may be expanded in the “coming weeks and months”, with several countries and regions having expressed interest in such an arrangement with Singapore. 

Transport Minister S Iswaran, who gave this update today, also said that one traveller has tested positive for Covid-19 so far, among the more than 900 who have arrived in Singapore via the VTL arrangement with Germany and Brunei. 

He said the case was identified on arrival and the patient is in quarantine. 

“What it basically tells us is that the system is working and we are gaining confidence with it. And I think that’s an important prerequisite before we think about scaling to other countries,” he said to reporters on the sidelines of a conference commemorating the Ministry of Transport’s 20th anniversary.

TODAY has contacted the Ministry of Health for details of this case.

The VTL is a new travel arrangement for vaccinated travellers from Germany and Brunei where passengers get tested repeatedly for Covid-19 in lieu of serving quarantine. Applications opened on Sept 1.

Approved travellers take a polymerase chain reaction test before departure and on arrival in Singapore. They will have to take two more such tests on the third and seventh day of their stay.

Singapore welcomed its first flight of 100 passengers from Germany on Sept 8.

Iswaran said today that Singapore has so far received 2,500 VTL applications and that all 900 travellers who have arrived in Singapore under the arrangement have complied with the testing protocols.

This, he said, was a “very good sign” that people understand the requirements of this travel arrangement.

Asked for a timeframe for the further reopening of Changi Airport for travellers, Mr Iswaran said he was unable to provide a concrete timeline of Singapore’s border reopening plans.

“It’s a dynamic situation because it’s a function of both our domestic circumstances, what is happening in the countries that we are also talking to, and then how we can operationalise this and keep within the risk tolerance we are prepared to accept.”

Singapore must first assess the public health risk of the country, which involves the Covid-19 incidence rate, vaccination rate and testing regime there.

It must also consider “operational” factors such as the steps that have to be taken to authenticate travellers’ vaccination documents, as well as ensuring travellers conduct the required tests before and after arrival in Singapore. — TODAY

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