S'pore looking into reopening borders with Southeast Asian countries

One step at a time.

Belmont Lay | November 09, 2021, 02:42 PM

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The Covid-19 pandemic situation in the Southeast Asia region is "fast stabilising", Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Nov. 8, at a multi-ministry task force press conference.

"This gives us scope to start opening up our borders with regional countries as well," Ong said.

This development has allowed the risk classification for several Asean countries to be adjusted up reflecting their lower risk status.

Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Cambodia, will be adjusted from category three to two.

The risk classification for the Philippines, Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar will be adjusted from category four to three.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said the changes would take effect from 11.59pm on Thursday, Nov. 11.

More tests recognised

According to the press release, the government will now expand the types of tests recognised as a valid Pre Departure Test (PDT) for all travellers arriving in, or transiting through, Singapore from Category Two and Category Three countries and regions.

This also includes travellers arriving via VTL, and is in alignment with testing protocols now in Singapore.

A professionally-administered Antigen Rapid Test (ART) with a negative result taken with two days prior to departure will be accepted.

For example, if the PDT is taken on Nov. 1, 2021, it will be valid for departures (for air/ sea checkpoints) or arrivals (for land checkpoint) up to Nov. 3, 2021, 2359 hours.

An ART has to be performed by trained professionals (e.g. medical professionals, Government-recognised trained professionals, etc.)

Singapore-Malaysia VTL

The readjustment of risk classification was announced on the same day as the news of Singapore restarting cross-border air travel with Malaysia through a vaccinated travel lane (VTL) between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) from Nov. 29.

Vaccinated Travel Pass applications for short-term visitors and long-term pass holders will commence on Nov. 22.

Returning Singapore citizens and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated will not need to apply, said MOH.

VTL with Finland and Sweden

The VTL scheme will also be extended to Finland and Sweden from Nov. 29

From Nov. 11, 2021, 11:59pm, Singapore will also accept a negative, professionally administered antigen rapid test (ART) result taken within two days prior to departure as a valid pre-departure test for travellers from these countries or regions, MOH said.

Singapore's quarantine-free travel scheme has increased the number of locations to 16 with the addition of these three new VTL countries.

Top photo via Unsplash

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