Singapore has been testing a new COVID-19 travel protocol and, based on its results, will soon open its borders to fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. and a limited number of other countries on October 19.
Of the almost 2,000 travelers who entered Singapore from those countries, only two had COVID-19 upon arrival in Singapore, Transport Minister S. Iswaran said in a press conference. Both passengers were detected at the point of arrival through their COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests. They were immediately isolated and had no interaction with the community.
“We have monitored the VTL scheme closely and are encouraged by the outcomes,” Iswaran said. “While still a far cry from where we were pre-COVID-19, this is a significant step in the reopening of our borders, and crucial to reclaiming and rebuilding our status as an international aviation hub with global connectivity.”
A Gradual Opening
Singapore had maintained a zero-COVID strategy, which closed its borders to foreigners for most of the pandemic. However, once 80 percent of Singapore’s population had been vaccinated, the country began to reopen its borders. As of October 7, 83 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Health.
The VTLs for Brunei and Germany opened September 8. VTLs will open for fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S., as well as Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Canada on October 19. A VTL for travelers from South Korea will begin November 15.
Those countries, along with Brunei and Germany, are among Singapore’s top 20 trading partners. They also account for approximately 10 percent of all pre-pandemic travelers arriving at the country’s Changi Airport, Iswaran explained.
“All 8 countries are already open to travelers from Singapore,” Iswaran continued. “The VTLs will restore two-way quarantine-free travel between Singapore and the countries.”
Traveling to Singapore will be relatively easy for fully vaccinated travelers using VTLs.
First, fully vaccinated travelers will need to apply for a vaccinated travel pass (VTP) to enter Singapore. They also will need to travel into Singapore on designated VTL flights.
Under the VTL, fully vaccinated travelers will need to undergo a pre-departure test within 48 hours before departing to Singapore and obtain a negative test result. Then, upon arrival at Changi Airport, they must take another test. Travelers must remain self-isolated until their test result is confirmed to be negative. After that, however, there is no need to quarantine or complete more testing.
You can find all the details about traveling to Singapore, including how to apply for a VTP here.
Know Before You Go
As of today, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore during the pandemic is 126,966 with 162 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There were 23,123 new cases reported the week of October 3 to 9, with 49 deaths. Both are record one-week numbers for Singapore.
However, 98 percent of the people with new cases reported over the past 28 days had no symptoms or mild symptoms, according to the country’s Ministry of Health.
Nonetheless, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a “Level 3: High Level of COVID-19 in Singapore” alert for the country. Following that guidance, the U.S. State Department encourages U.S. citizens to “Reconsider travel to Singapore due to COVID-19.”