Unconfirmed: Singapore to eliminate daily COVID-19 testing for VTL travellers from 24 January

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Singapore may scale back its daily testing regime for VTL travellers to Day 3 and 7 self-administered ARTs from 24 January 2022.

⚠️ Update: Singapore has announced that it will simplify the VTL testing regime from 24 January 2022 onwards, by removing the need for supervised ART swabs. Travellers need only perform ART self-swabs from Days 2 to 7, on days where they wish to head out of the house/hotel. There is also no more reporting requirement

For the full details, refer to this article.

Mark this as unconfirmed for now, but there’s strong evidence to suggest that Singapore will scale back its daily testing regime for Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) passengers from 24 January 2022 onwards, replacing it with Day 3 and 7 unsupervised self-swabs. 

The enhanced testing regime was first introduced on 7 December 2021, in response to the Omicron variant. This measure was originally supposed to last until 2 January 2022, but the authorities decided to further extend it by four weeks to 30 January 2022. 

For context, VTL travellers are currently required to undergo the following COVID-19 tests when travelling to Singapore: 

🇸🇬 Testing Regime for VTL Travel to Singapore
(Current)
DayTestCost
Within 2 days before departure to SingaporeProfessional ART/PCR Varies
Day 1 (arrival in Singapore)Air VTL: PCR
Land VTL: ART
S$125 (PCR)
S$15 (ART)
Day 2Self-administered ART~S$5
Day 3Supervised ARTS$15
Day 4Self-administered ART~S$5
Day 5Self-administered ART~S$5
Day 6Self-administered ART~S$5
Day 7Supervised ARTS$15
Professional ART= Someone swabs you
Self-administered ART= You swab yourself, unsupervised
Supervised ART= You swab yourself, supervised

Daily ART swabbing to be eliminated?

VTL travellers arriving in Singapore are required to submit the results of their Day 2, 4, 5 and 6 ART swabs online (the results of Day 3 and 7 ART swabs are automatically reported, either by the CTC/QTC or by DA for those doing Tele-ARTs).

If you visited the submission link this morning, you’d have seen that question 10 was modified as follows (the form has since been updated to remove this). 

Click “No”, and you’ll see the usual dialogue box prompting you to upload the results of Day 2, 4, 5 or 6 ART results. 

But click “Yes”, and you’ll see a prompt to submit the results of Day 3 and 7 ART self-swabs. 

This strongly suggests that from 24 January 2022, Singapore plans to eliminate daily ART testing and replace it with Day 3 and 7 ART swabs, neither of which needs to be supervised. 

If true, this would significantly ease the post-arrivals process by not requiring a physical visit to a QTC/CTC (though that inconvenience has arguably already been minimised thanks to the introduction of Tele-ARTs by DA). 

🇸🇬 Testing Regime for VTL Travel to Singapore
(Unconfirmed)

DayTestCost
Within 2 days before departure to SingaporeProfessional ART/PCR Varies
Day 1 (arrival in Singapore)Air VTL: PCR
Land VTL: ART
S$125 (PCR)
S$15 (ART)
Day 3Self-administered ART~S$5
Day 7Self-administered ART~S$5
Professional ART= Someone swabs you
Self-administered ART= You swab yourself, unsupervised

It would also save the average traveller ~S$40, not including travel costs to the QTC/CTC.

Conclusion

Singapore may be preparing to do away with daily COVID-19 testing for arriving VTL travellers, with 24 January a possible date to watch out for. This would ease the administrative burden for arriving passengers, and take some pressure off QTC/CTCs in the process. 

With Omicron already well-established in Singapore, imported cases are relatively insignificant compared to community transmission, and easing the testing regime for arriving passengers would be a tacit acknowledgement of that fact. 

I’m also hopeful that VTL flight quotas will be restored as well- these were previously capped at 50% of the allocated quota from 21 January 2022 onwards. 

(HT: @karen)

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

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Daniel

This is good news and is making the testing costs more reasonable so that we can finally visit Singapore from Australia, hopefully in Feb or March!

Ian End

As long as you’re not a dirty PR or a filthy LTP holder.

Jeremy

Hi Aaron, the 50% VTL quota is referring to the flight capacity and therefore the availability of redemptions?

SQflyer

All flights are capped at 50% capacity, so yes would effect award availability.

Daniel

Wondering/hoping if the on arrival test will get cheaper, become an ART, or be removed entirely soon since Omicron is spreading in Singapore locally more than from inbound passengers from flights.

Christ

good — the costs of all those ARTs add up

Ian End

Despite being a vocal critic of nearly everything covid-related that the SG gov has done, I don’t actually agree with rolling back this testing. My wife and kids came back from a trip, did the test each day, and it was really no bother. The most pointless part of the exercise was going to the QTC to be ‘observed’ taking an ART test, that really was silly. To help us really get out from under covid’s foot I’d like to see near-daily self testing with ART kits become a normal part of the next 6-12 months, regardless of travel. If… Read more »

WLKW

Daily self art testing regardless of travel becomes a social responsibility, if it’s implemented. To be honest, I don’t find it helps much, for other than the conscientious folks who are truly socially responsible, would anyone else do it? Take for eg, the current daily art testing foe travellers. There is no submission of photographic proof that one would have done so. Submission is merely to indicate if you are +/- . While I did it anyways for the sake of my old folks at home, I know of others with less vested interest or just cannot be bothered to… Read more »

Mario

That’s why daily self-testing has to be combined with regular, say weekly or biweekly, supervised testing, even if going to the QTC is considered “silly” by some.

Adrian

I am hoping they will implement a shorter positive no fly period (down to 5 or 7 days) or negative then fly criteria

Hulk

Zaobao reported this morning that VTL quota will remain as planned (halved after 20 Jan 2022). See link below:

https://www.zaobao.com.sg/news/singapore/story20220120-1234678

Adam

The form has been updated and the question has been removed.

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