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Singapore to ease COVID-19 measures for non-VTL travellers

SINGAPORE (CNA) – Singapore will ease COVID-19 measures for travellers outside the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) arrangement, the Singapore Ministry of Health (MoH) announced on Friday.

From 11.59pm on January 7, 2022, non-VTL travellers from category 2 to 4 countries will no longer need to take on-arrival COVID-19 tests.

Travellers from category 2 and 3 countries are required to serve stay-home notice for seven and 10 days respectively.

Those from category 4 countries need to serve 10 days at a dedicated facility.

The earlier requirement for on-arrival tests “was to pick up the Omicron cases early, as the variant was new, and we wanted to learn more about it”, said MoH in a press release.

Travellers queuing for PCR tests at Changi Airport, Singapore. PHOTO: CNA

“As we have gathered more information on the Omicron variant, we have further assessed that OATs (on-arrival tests) for non-VTL travellers… are no longer required,” it added.

They will have to test negative on a PCR test at the end of their notice period, “further reducing the risk of onward transmission”, said the ministry.

Travellers from Hong Kong, Macao and China – places under category 1 – who are not required to serve stay-home notice will still need to take a PCR test on arrival.

VTL travellers will continue to be required to take COVID-19 tests up till day seven of their arrival. This enhanced measure will be extended by four weeks from its initial cut-off date of January 2 until January 30.

As of Thursday, Singapore has detected 912 imported Omicron cases, 685 of whom were detected through the enhanced testing regime for VTL travellers.

“The enhancement has proven effective in detecting imported Omicron cases amongst VTL travellers and reducing onward transmission,” said MoH.

“As the global situation evolves, we will continue to adjust our border measures in tandem with our roadmap to becoming a COVID resilient nation,” it added.

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