Singapore to require daily COVID-19 ART swabs for all VTL travellers

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From 7 December, all travellers entering Singapore on the VTL must do daily ART swabs for 7 days, in addition to the on-arrival PCR test.

Just a few days after adding Day 3 and Day 7 ART tests for travellers arriving under the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme, Singapore has decided to further augment its testing regime by introducing daily testing for the full seven-day period after arrival.

In addition to the current PCR test on arrival on Day 1 and supervised self-administered ART swabs on Days 3 & 7, travellers will also need to do unsupervised ART swabs on Days 2, 4, 5 and 6 and report the results online. 

This additional testing requirement will commence from 7 December 2021 and remain in place for four weeks initially, until 2 January 2022.

Daily ART swabs required for VTL travellers

Quick Test Centre | Photo: Straits Times

All travellers entering Singapore from 7 December 2021 will be put on a daily testing regime over seven days using ART. This also applies to travellers arriving from Malaysia on the land VTL.

☝️ What about entry before 7 December?
Travellers who have entered Singapore between 3 December 2021 and 6 December 2021 (inclusive) are not required to undergo the self-administered ARTs on Days 2, 4, 5 and 6 of their arrival, but will continue to be required to take the supervised self-administered ARTs at QTCs or CTCs on Days 3 and 7 of their arrival.

ART swabs are all self-administered, with the Day 3 & 7 tests conducted under supervision at a Combined Test Centre (CTC) or Quick Test Centre (QTC). These must be done by 2130 hours on the relevant days. 

QTC/CTC Locations
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On Days 2, 4, 5 and 6, tests will be unsupervised and done at home. These must be done before going out for activities on that day. 

Travellers must submit their results from Days 2, 4, 5 and 6 online via this link. Needless to say, the authorities will take a very dim view towards missing a submission- play stupid games, win stupid prizes. 

Here’s an illustrative testing regime, for a traveller arriving in Singapore on 7 December 2021. 

DayDateTest
Within 2 days before departureOn or after 5 Dec 21Pre-departure ART/PCR 
1 (arrival)7 Dec 21On-arrival PCR (for VTL-Air) or ART (for VTL-Land)
28 Dec 21Unsupervised ART
39 Dec 21Supervised ART
410 Dec 21Unsupervised ART
511 Dec 21Unsupervised ART
612 Dec 21Unsupervised ART
713 Dec 21Supervised ART

Children aged 2 and below in the current calendar year are not required to undergo the ART swabbing regime. Children aged 3 to 12 must be accompanied by a caregiver aged 21 years old and above for supervised ART swabbing. The caregiver may be required to help administer the test if the child is unable to do so.

How much cost does this add to travel?

While no one likes the prospect of daily ART swabs, the good news is this won’t be unduly burdensome for most VTL travellers.

The Day 3 & 7 supervised ART swabs cost S$15 each. 

The Day 2, 4, 5 and 6 unsupervised ART swabs can be done with a self-test kit. Every Singapore household should have received 10 ART self-test kits, and assuming you’ve already exhausted those, additional ART self-test kits can be purchased from pharmacies at around S$5 each. 

Taking Guardian as an example, a pack of five test kits costs S$26.40, while 20 test kits can be bought for S$105. 

Likewise, Watsons sells a pack of 10 test kits for S$53.50

Assuming an average cost of S$5.30 per kit, the total cost of VTL testing on return to Singapore is as follows:

DayTestCost
Within 2 days before departurePre-departure ART/PCR Varies
1 (arrival)On-arrival PCR (for VTL-Air) or ART (for VTL-Land)S$125
2Unsupervised ARTS$5.30
3Supervised ARTS$15
4Unsupervised ARTS$5.30
5Unsupervised ARTS$5.30
6Unsupervised ARTS$5.30
7Supervised ARTS$15
  S$176.20 + overseas PCR test

Conclusion

Singapore is adding a daily ART swabbing requirement for VTL travellers in light of Omicron, although this is far from the worst case scenario. Travellers can still enter Singapore quarantine-free, they only need to do one expensive PCR test, and I daresay most people would happily do a few more ARTs in exchange for year-end travel.

We may not have heard the last of this, however, as the MOH has talked about the need to “respond nimbly to Omicron”. It’s possible we’ll see border measures changed at short notice, so anyone travelling during this period should pay close attention.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Ian End

Joke country run by cowards

EDMW

Come back leh Ian End

George

Singapore is dead in the water. No leadership, nonsensical half baked compromised rules and no light at the end of this f2ckin tunnel. Foreigners are getting the f2ck out of this sh1h0le. Al locals that are forced to stay back I feel sorry for you, best of luck and I hope you can cope with all this circus

Nick

They rather trouble the travellers than to stop the vtls. Really stupid and money minded.

Nack

Just curious, is your job safe if we continue with closed borders? Many people would lose their incomes and not be able to feed their families if this continues even if you are not affected.

phister

Get a better job then

bizflyer

Agree 100%. If so scared, call.off the VTLs. This is really lame of them

Sean

“…I daresay most people would happily do a few more ARTs in exchange for year-end travel.”

Yeah, nah. Quite happy to stay in Singapore and enjoy the cool weather and peace and quiet while all the families travel. I’ll travel next year when school is back in…

John

I hope you realise your opinion alone is not a large enough sample to refute the use of the phrase “most people”

Freddy

He was not even talking about people like you. It’s about people with the intention to travel. Of course doing tests is better than canceling the whole thing.

asprino

Erhhhh. How do they expect visitors to get the ART kit for the day 2 test as they need to do it before they are allowed to headed out? At least they should be provided (maybe at cost) on arrival?

Last edited 6 months ago by asprino
EDMW

I don’t know, how about buy it before travel?

Ducati

Or buy it after the on-arrival test on Day 1

Stephen Mok

Can you even buy them at SIN on arrival? Or are tourists really supposed to BYO from their home country?

Ortloc

So if a returnee doesn’t intend to go out on days 4 or 5, does that mean they can either skip the test or take the test as late as possible? Meaning one could take and report the test results at 2355hrs for day 4 and reuse the results at 0005hrs for day 5. Procedurally, the rules have been followed.

bizflyer

This is absurb. Imagine going for a 1 week ‘VTL’ holiday and kena 10 tests (incl sg pre departure & overseas arrival). What’s next? Daily PCR tests? They shld just save everyone the silliness n call off these VTLs if things are that bad.

D K

“if you don’t give me full unrestricted travel, I rather you don’t let others travel too!”

Come on – little boys and girls – grow up.

I have no immediate plans to travel in December BUT I do appreciate the option to do so if I choose to. I believe “MANY” will agree.

If you don’t want to be inconvenienced, don’t travel. If you don’t like the way you are “govern”, leave the country. If you don’t have the means, then suck it.

George

Yep, getting the f2ck out of this sh1hole. For everyone who has to suck it and stay best of luck

Siyuan

Small effort to make to help your country, while still allowing personal liberties.

Ehch

The VTL has become nonsense. A complicated mess and no practical risk difference than non-vtl.

Time to make vaccines mandatory for entry and scrap this VTL gimmick / price gouging.

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