Ticket sales for VTL flights, buses to be stopped from Thursday to 20 January

·3-min read
People wait to board a bus under the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) for border-crossing passengers between Singapore and Malaysia.
People wait to board a bus under the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) for border-crossing passengers between Singapore and Malaysia. (PHOTO: Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — From Thursday (23 December), there will not be new tickets sold for designated vaccinated travel lane (VTL) flights and buses for entry into Singapore from all VTL countries until 11.59pm on 20 January.

Furthermore, from 21 January, the total ticket sales for designated VTL flights and buses into Singapore will be capped at 50 per cent of the allocated quota, said the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) in separate media releases on Wednesday.

All travellers who already hold a ticket on a VTL flight or bus, and meet all the other VTL requirements, can continue to travel under the VTL.

MOH said that these new travel restrictions are in response to the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant globally. 

"We are picking up more Omicron cases because of the rapid spread of the variant across many countries/regions. Thus far, our enhanced testing regime for travellers has helped us to detect 65 confirmed Omicron cases," it said in its media relase. 

"It is a matter of time before the Omicron variant spreads in our community. Our border measures will help to buy us time to study and understand the Omicron variant, and to strengthen our defences, including enhancing our healthcare capacity, and getting more people vaccinated and boosted."

Enhanced safeguards for aviation community

In view of the rise in Omicron cases globally, MOH has advised travellers to minimise their social interactions, and refrain from high-risk mask-off activities such as dining at food-and-beverages establishments, exercising in gyms or attending fitness classes.

They should also avoid large gatherings and crowded places for seven days from arrival, even if they have a negative daily antigen rapid test (ART) result. Travellers who are unwell, including those showing early/mild symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.

Currently, VTL travellers are required to undergo ARTs daily for seven days after their arrival. 

On days 2, 4, 5, and 6 after their arrival, they take self-administered ARTs and submit the results using a link sent to them. On days 3 and 7 after arrival, the tests are done under supervision at a combined test centre or quick test centre.

"Travellers who do not undergo the required tests and/or submit their results will be issued a stay-order/stay-home notice, and will also face enforcement actions under the Infectious Diseases Act," MOH said.

CAAS will also step up the safeguards and requirements to protect the aviation community. All airport workers who interact with arriving passengers - including those working in public areas such as taxi stands - have to wear enhance personal protective equipment (PPE) including N95 masks and face shields.

All frontline airport workers will now be placed on seven-day polymerase chain reaction (PCR) rostered routine testing (RRT), instead of the seven-day ART RRT cycle. In addition, for higher risk workers in this group, there will be an employer-supervised ART on the third day in between their PCR testing cycle.

Finally, there will be an enhanced seven-day PCR RRT regime with an employer-supervised ART on the third day of the cycle for Singapore air crew.

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