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
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.
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.
|Within 2 days before departure||On or after 5 Dec 21||Pre-departure ART/PCR|
|1 (arrival)||7 Dec 21||On-arrival PCR (for VTL-Air) or ART (for VTL-Land)|
|2||8 Dec 21||Unsupervised ART|
|3||9 Dec 21||Supervised ART|
|4||10 Dec 21||Unsupervised ART|
|5||11 Dec 21||Unsupervised ART|
|6||12 Dec 21||Unsupervised ART|
|7||13 Dec 21||Supervised 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:
|Within 2 days before departure||Pre-departure ART/PCR||Varies|
|1 (arrival)||On-arrival PCR (for VTL-Air) or ART (for VTL-Land)||S$125|
|S$176.20 + overseas PCR test|
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.