A couple of days ago, I wrote about how Singapore seemed set to transition away from daily COVID-19 testing for VTL arrivals, based on a (quickly reverted) update of the ART results submission form that VTL travellers have to fill.
The full details have now been unveiled, and it’s different (but better) than we anticipated: Singapore will eliminate the supervised ART swabbing requirement for VTL arrivals, replacing it with an “as-needed” regime of self-administered ARTs from Day 2 to Day 7.
Singapore removes daily ART regime
From 24 January 2022, travellers entering Singapore under the VTL will no longer need to perform daily ART swabs from Day 2 to Day 7 after arrival.
Instead, they will only need to perform self-administered, unsupervised ART swabs on the days they wish to head out. There is no need to submit any ART results online (although I believe you should, as a matter of best practice, take time-stamped photos of your results).
This eliminates the need to travel down to a CTC/QTC, or even to do a Tele-ART for that matter. It will also result in some marginal cost savings to the tune of S$20 or so (with 2x S$5 ART self-swabs replacing 2x S$15 supervised ART swabs).
|🇸🇬 Testing Regime for VTL Travel to Singapore
(From 24 Jan 2022)
|Within 2 days before departure to Singapore
|Day 1 (arrival in Singapore)
|Air VTL: PCR
Land VTL: ART
|*Only required if you intend to head out on that day
If your Day 2 to 7 ART results come back positive but you have only minimal symptoms, you should adopt Protocol 2.
- You should immediately stop going to work and cancel your social activities to protect others from possibly being infected with COVID-19.
- You should self-isolate for 72 hours at home. This will allow you to safely recover, monitor your health and avoid spreading the virus further.
- No need for MC if you have no symptoms. If a doctor has assessed you to have a mild condition, you will be given an MC to cover the expected period of rest needed for your symptoms to resolve.
Regular activities can be resumed once a negative ART result is obtained after the 72 hour isolation period.
VTL capacity cut continues
While there’s plenty of good news here, one disappointment is that the 50% limit on VTL flight and bus tickets, imposed in December for travel after 21 January 2022, will continue until further notice.
Anecdotally, I have noticed that it’s increasingly difficult to find VTL award space on popular routes from Europe and Australia. I can’t imagine SIA is too inclined to release award space, when the number of seats it can sell has been restricted so drastically.
Singapore is simplifying its post-arrival testing regime for VTL travellers, which basically follows the honour system now. Travellers will do their own ART testing before they leave the house or hotel, and once negative, can proceed with their regular activities. There is no more requirement to report the results.
Even a positive test result need not entail much inconvenience, with the removal of the mandatory confirmatory PCR test. You could be free within 72 hours, provided your subsequent ART result comes back negative.
These are major steps in the right direction towards living with Omicron, and let’s hope the VTL capacity cuts don’t last much longer.
Don’t forget to catch up on today’s other big development: the easing of travel measures for recently-recovered travellers (which means no more testing or SHNs in some cases, plus the removal of the dreaded “14-day stranding!”)