Singapore simplifies VTL testing regime; removes supervised swabs

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Singapore will simplify the post-arrival VTL testing regime from 24 January onwards, making Day 2 to 7 tests all self-administered.

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

Supervised swabbing at QTC/CTCs will no longer be required for VTL travellers

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)
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 3Self-administered ART*~S$5
Day 4Self-administered ART*~S$5
Day 5Self-administered ART*~S$5
Day 6Self-administered ART*~S$5
Day 7Self-administered ART*~S$5
*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.

  1. You should immediately stop going to work and cancel your social activities to protect others from possibly being infected with COVID-19.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Source: MOH

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.

Conclusion

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!”)

Big news: No more SHN, testing or “14-day stranding” for recently-recovered vaccinated travellers to Singapore

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

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Lee

The sadder aspect about the 50% VTL capacity cap is in regards to land VTL where a lot of Malaysians here still can’t secure tickets to go back home during this festive seasons.

Chia

VTL is incoming, not outgoing.

Long

You sure?

VTL is for both incoming and outgoing. And same goes VTL Land that is impossible to secure tickets

Daniel

It’s great news, fingers crossed it only becomes simpler during February and March

Michael

Scoot are charging $600 for a ticket on VTL flight from KL to Singapore on March 1st. They are charging $20 for non VTL.

Shame on Scoot and SIA for this shameless pricing.

Josiah

It’s called supply and demand – welcome to the real world.

Michael

Artificially low supply caused by bad policy.

Michael

And just FYI, AirAsia charges 299.

bent

What’s your point? Supply and demand.

Chia

Whatever work you are doing, Malaysians are doing it for 1/3 the price. Why your salary not the same?

Ian End

Actually it’s called price gouging, which is definitely unethical and potentially illegal.

Churn

Are Qantas award flights from Australia VTL?

QFFlyer

All QF flights from Australia to Singapore are VTL, doesn’t matter whether they’re revenue or award tickets.

Tiak

The best part of it for me personally is that I had tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days. I’m now exempted from pre-departure tests before returning to Singapore on 24 Jan, just in time. I can save the USD50 pre-departure ART test and the Changi on-arrival PCR test (SGD125). I think I will travel more before my 90 days are up!

Last edited 3 months ago by Tiak
Ian End

Book 3 months off work and do a quick round the world trip! You can live stream it all for us. 😁

LYF

If a traveller arrives in Singapore on a VTL flight and tests positive for the on-arrival PCR (Day 1), do they adhere to Protocol 2, or will they be served a 7-day IO order?

LYF

Thanks!

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