singapore reopening borders

Singapore Plans To Drop Its VTL And Reopen For Tourism To All Countries

Singapore is open to 30 countries but plans to reopen for international visitors soon.

As of today, the city-state has travel agreements with 30 countries including Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States.

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Singapore Reopening Tourism – Latest Update

Singapore reopening borders for tourism

March 15 – Singapore plans to drop its VTL and reopen to all countries

Singapore plans to lift its Vaccinated Travel Lane system and allowed entry to all fully vaccinated visitors worldwide.

“Instead of having vaccinated travel lanes with selected countries that we think are low risk, we should actually allow [quarantine-free] travel for vaccinated travelers or fully-vaccinated travelers, from all countries,” said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.

For the time being, the minister has refused to provide a specific full reopening date. However, he mentioned that it could be done after the current Omicron wave starts to decline. 

Read our full post: Singapore Prepares To Scrap Its VTL System And Reopen For Tourism To All Countries

February 23 – Singapore to expand its Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) program to other 6 countries from Feb. 25

Singapore will expand its Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) program to include six more countries from Feb. 25, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS). 

Beginning Feb. 25, vaccinated tourists from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates will be able to enter Singapore without quarantine requirements.

The city-state also established quarantine-free travel agreements with Hong Kong, Israel and the Philippines from March 4.

According to the CAAS, the existing VTL network, which presently includes 24 nations, would be expanded to include more cities in Thailand.

Is Singapore open for Americans?

Singapore has halted all its Vaccinated Travel Lanes until further notice.

Singapore

The impact of the Coronavirus on Singapore

COVID-19 cases in Singapore

Singapore’s death toll has been very low. So far, it has reported 964,329 cases and 1,159 deaths.

International Reopening will be gradual

Singapore has gradually opened to business travelers and a few selected groups of tourists. The head of the country’s tourism agency concedes it will be a while before mass travel is allowed due to fears of the pandemic.

Entry requirements

Citizens and permanent residents of Singapore can return home. Anyone else has to apply for approval. The process is easier for Chinese nationals who have “Fast Lane” access.

Essential business travelers must contact the Ministry of Manpower and those who need to travel to Singapore for other urgent reasons must go through the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.

Travelers who are approved will receive an official letter that they must show an immigration officer upon arrival in Singapore.

How safe is it to visit Singapore now?

According to the CDC, Singapore is a relatively safe country to visit during COVID. Level-3 risk. (Source: CDC.gov)

How has Singapore managed the pandemic?

Singapore

Singapore was one of the first countries to be affected by the virus.

The government’s response was initially measured. Restaurants, bars, theaters, and malls remained open. The government asked people to wash their hands and to stay home if sick.

Singapore’s tight social and government controls were used to trace, monitor, and isolate people. Anyone who did not cooperate with health officials was severely punished. Breaking quarantine resulted in jail time as well as passport suspensions and other rather strict measures.

By mid-June, the number of cases had dropped dramatically and Singapore gradually opened. First retail outlets, restaurants, and movie theaters were opened, though with strict social distancing.

Then religious services with crowds of up to 50 people were allowed. As the rate of infection continued to drop, gatherings of up to 100 people were allowed. The government is now working to open up the economy even further and assist migrant laborers to return to their jobs.

Why Visit Singapore?

A street in Singapore

The island nation has 44 Michelin-starred restaurants and flavors from all over the world. Visitors will commonly find dishes from China, Malaysia, and India among the local hawkers.

Then there are the many festivals, which also give visitors an opportunity to try different cuisines. In particular, there is the Singapore Food Festival and the Singapore Cocktail Festival for gourmets from around the world.

There are also music and sports festivals – The city never sleeps.

Travelers can also enjoy the art scene by visiting the many galleries as well as museums and enjoy many cultural events.

Singapore is a fashionista’s paradise as well. 

On top of that, there are green spaces, great beaches, and a fantastic Universal Studios theme park. All of it is easily accessible via public transport, and everything’s safe and very clean. 

Basically, Singapore is the ultimate adult playground. It’s also a wonderful hub if visitors would like to visit other countries in Asia.


Singapore reopening: Update Archives

February 9 – Singapore could ease COVID-19 domestic restrictions, experts say

Local experts believe that domestic COVID-19 restrictions such as limitations on household visits and wearing face masks outdoors are no longer needed.

Citing the successful vaccination campaign, Associate Professor Alex Cook, an expert on infectious disease modeling, said that even though the country has not reached the Omicron peak most measures can be rolled back. 

In the same line, Associate Professor David Allen, an infectious diseases expert at NUS, said that Singapore’s high vaccination rate will likely result in “a modest wave instead of a surge”.

Also, Professor Teo Yik Ying, dean of the school, said that “with high vaccination uptake… Singapore is well placed to relax its measures to continue on the trajectory to live with Covid-19”.

January 27 – Singapore has eased testing restrictions for VTL visitors

Fully Vaccinated Travel Lane travelers who recently recovered from COVID-19 are now exempted from all testing and SHN requirements if providing medical proof.

Non-fully vaccinated visitors who have recently recovered from COVID-19 are now free from pre-departure testing, but must still comply with all other border restrictions.

Also, all VTL travelers entering or transiting through Singapore via both air and land checkpoints will only be needed to undertake unsupervised self-administered ARTs (Antigen Rapid Test) on days 2 and 7 of their arrival.

January 15 – Singapore Committed to opening more Vaccinated Travel Lanes and reopening the ones in hold. 

Singapore is determined to gradually reopen its borders while launching more quarantine-free travel agreements (VTLs) in the coming months, said Transport Minister S. Iswaran.

“Our goal is to restore quarantine-free travel with more countries and regions as allowed for by the public health assessment,” he said. 

Airline tickets sales for the VTLs have been suspended since Dec. 23 as the country struggles with its own wave of omicron cases.

Authorities have implemented more stringent testing restrictions, and ticket sales are expected to resume later this month.

December 16: Singapore resumes travel bubbles with India and Thailand

India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) removed Singapore from its list of high-risk countries on Dec. 9.

Right after, both countries resumed their free-quarantine travel lane. Travelers from Singapore must still monitor their health for some days upon arrival in India. 

Also, Singapore will launch a travel lane with Thailand. 25 flights will start operations from January 2022. 

All passengers must present proof of having been fully vaccinated. 

December 1 – Singapore to tighten entry requirements and stop easing domestic restrictions from Dec. 2

Travelers entering Singapore under the quarantine-free Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) system will now be required to take supervised, self-administered antigen rapid tests (ARTs) at a Quick Test Centre on the third and seventh days of their stay.

The country recently relaxed domestic restrictions such as capacity limits for restaurants and gatherings. These measures will stay as they are but the government will not further relax them for the time being.

The government has restricted all travel from/to South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

November 14 – Singapore to launch a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with Malaysia on Nov. 29 – Finland and Sweden also on the table.

Singapore and Malaysia will launch a quarantine-free travel corridor for fully vaccinated citizens from both countries on Nov. 29.

The VTL will operate between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Singapore has also mentioned that travel agreements with Finland and Sweden are underway.

In recent weeks, the city state has begun to relax some regulations, such as allowing vaccinated persons from the same household to dine out.

October 31 – Singapore still on to reopen for Australian travelers on Nov. 8

Singapore’s tourism board welcomed the reopening for Australians without quarantine restrictions on Nov. 8.

Aussies will need to take a pre-departure PCR test no longer than 48 hours prior to arrival in Singapore and a test on arrival at Changi Airport. 

As a precautionary measure, travelers must quarantine until their test result is confirmed as negative. 

The current local COVID-19 restrictions such as social gatherings and mandating work from home, which were supposed to end on Oct. 24, were extended for another month.

Read our full post: Singapore Will Open For Vaccinated Travelers from Australia on November 8

October 11 – Singapore reopens tourism for 8 more countries on Oct. 19

October 19 marks the date when Singapore will launch eight new “Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL)” for travelers to enter the country without having to undergo quarantine. 

Visitors from Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, and the U.S. will be permitted to visit the country as long as they can produce both a vaccine and negative Covid-19 certificate. 

There is also a post-arrival test, but once visitors pick up their negative PCR test they will be free to resume their trips. 

August 29 – Singapore opens “vaccinated-travel lane” for Germany, Hong Kong, Brunei and Macao from August 26

Singapore decided to lift quarantine restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers from Hong Kong and Macao on Aug. 26 and Germany and Brunei from September, according to Transport Minister S. Iswaran.

The government is afraid that a longer closure could lead to irreversible damage in different sectors of the economy. 

“The longer our borders remain closed, the greater the risk of lasting damage to our economy, our livelihoods and our status as an aviation hub,” said Mr. Iswaran.

Source: CNBC

September 29 – Singapore Commits to Reopen Travel Lanes But Just Not Yet, Said Finance Minister

Singapore is committed to reopening new travel lanes as it restarts its economy, but just not yet due to a threat to the health system, said Singapore’s Finance Minister on Tuesday. 

The top objective right now is to protect the healthcare system so that it can better deal with the increase in COVID-19 infections, said the minister to Bloomberg.

“We know that it would cause pain, frustration, and anger among many people who have been looking forward to continuing the reopening but when we looked at the data we found (the reopening) was a huge risk.”

September 11 – Singapore pauses reopening strategies due to outbreak

Singapore has paused its reopening strategies due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. This does not imply that the country would abandon its intentions to reopen, but it will take things slowly for the time being.

“This rapid and exponential rise in daily infections that we are experiencing now is what every country that seeks to live with COVID-19 has to go through at some point,” Health Minister Ong Ye Kung told reporters. 

So far, the city-state has vaccinated more than 80% of its eligible population.

Source: Reuters

August 15 – Singapore to allow entry to fully vaccinated work pass holders from August 10

Fully vaccinated work pass holders and their families can seek permission to re-enter Singapore from August 10 onwards. 

Travelers with only one dose of a COVID vaccine or those who received the last jab within the last 14 days won’t be able to enter. “Those who are unable to produce the necessary documentation will be denied boarding or entry,” said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

This reopening is quite generous since authorities will allow visitors from high-risk countries as well. 

However, visitors with travel history or transit, within the last 21 days to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar will be denied entry. 

Source: HRD Asia

August 2 – Singapore might reopen quarantine-free travel by September, 2021

Authorities are rushing up to immunize two-thirds of its population by Aug 9. So far, the country has inoculated nearly 75% of its 5.7 million people, the world’s second highest after the United Arab Emirates. 

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong told parliament that when the country reaches 80%, it would be in a position to reopen international borders quarantine-free. This milestone is achievable by September. 

“While other countries may have come to terms with a certain level of COVID-19 cases and even deaths, this is not the choice we want to make in Singapore,” Wong said. “At the same time, there is no need to wait for everyone to be vaccinated before we begin to open up. That would mean holding back the entire reopening timeline until much later in the year, which is not tenable.”

Source: Bloomberg

July 20 – Singapore reopening plans delayed due to COVID-19 cluster

A cluster of COVID-19 cases linked to a karaoke bar has led authorities to send 2,000 people to quarantine and delay the country’s reopening. 

On July 16, the Health Ministry announced this new cluster of infections is a setback for their reopening plans.

The government immediately imposed aggressive measures to contain the spread. As of today, only gatherings of two people are allowed. This means that going to restaurants and coffee shops is only possible in pairs.

“There is a real risk that the cases from these clusters would have spread to the community, especially if there are individuals who have not come forward on testing,” said Lawrence Wong, finance minister and co-chair of the government’s coronavirus taskforce.

These restrictions will be in force through August 8.

Source: Reuters

July 4 – Singapore to move to the “new normal” in September, 2021

Singapore enforced a severe nation-wide lockdown in mid-May due to a spike in unlinked infections across the territory. 

Fortunately, authorities managed to control the situation fairly quickly and now they are speaking about moving to a “new normal” in September. 

“The Prime Minister’s key [Broadcasted] message wasn’t testing. It was vaccination. vaccination is the key to help us transit to live normally with COVID,” said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in an interview on July 1.

Mr. Ong also mentioned September as a potential month to further easing restrictions “what you would see is not a big-bang opening at the end of August or September, but a progressive one,” he added. 

June 17 – Singapore to review travel bubble with Hong Kong in early July

The long-awaited and multiple times canceled travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong might finally start in July.

Singapore Ministry of Transport (MOT) announced that Transport minister S. Iswaran and Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau have “maintained close contact and agreed that both sides would review the situation in early July, before making a decision on the target launch dates of the ATB flights.”

As of yet, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said the government wants to make sure they are doing the best to control the spread of the virus to avoid potential flare-ups. 

(Source: Channel News Asia)

June 1 – Singapore might reopen for tourism by the end of August, 2021

For the very first time in months, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke about a reopening plan at a conference earlier today. 

According to the Minister, the solution moving forward will include “testing, contact tracing, and vaccinating, all faster, and more.”

In order to achieve his goal, Singapore will open up vaccinations for 12-18 year-old people as well as adults aged 39-49. By using this strategy, all eligible people should have gotten at least their first shot by August 9, the country’s national day. 

“As long as our population is mostly vaccinated, we should be able to trace, isolate, and treat the cases that pop up, and prevent a severe and disastrous outbreak,” stated the Minister.

(Source: Bloomberg)

May 16 – Singapore to reimpose strict domestic COVID-19 restrictions after months of enjoying a “new normality”. 

Back in December, Singapore relaxed its internal restrictions following the optimistic data that showed months of single-digit or no locally transmitted daily infections. People were happily “enjoying the new normality” when the situation suddenly changed.

Only last week, the country detected 71 locally transmitted cases, 15 of which are not linked to other infected patients. 

Singapore has decided then to adopt an aggressive approach to try to contain the spread of the virus before it’s too late. Thus, starting today, May 16, authorities have banned in-person restaurant dining and limited social gatherings to two people among other restrictions. 

Unfortunately, the long awaited travel bubble with Hong Kong that was set to start on May 2, will be delayed until further notice. 

April 14 – Singapore will accept digital travel pass for travelers

Starting next month, Singapore will allow arrivals to show proof of vaccination and/or COVID-19 tests through an app that keeps track of certified results and medical history regarding COVID-19.  

Singapore is the first country to have approved the use of the app, others are expected to follow. This will open the door to a faster and more efficient way to go through airport health checks. (Source)