Singapore embarks on a major relaxation of its border measures from today, which will see simplified testing for VTL travellers, a reduction in the maximum SHN duration, mandatory hotel quarantine effectively abolished, and the removal of entry approval requirements for long-term passholders.
|🇸🇬 Eased border measures|
It’s all good stuff, but the most exciting change for me is the switch from PCR tests to supervised ART swabs for incoming VTL travellers. This is not only cheaper (S$15 vs S$125), it also minimises the self-isolation period (15 minutes vs up to 8 hours).
From 22 February 2022, all arriving VTL passengers must book and take a supervised ART swab within 24 hours of arrival at a designated QTC/CTC. Travellers must isolate themselves until a negative result is received, which means getting tested should be the first order of business.
But you won’t even need to travel to a QTC/CTC. Doctor Anywhere (DA) tele-supervised ART swabs can now be used to satisfy the VTL testing requirement, allowing you to swab from the comfort of home.
DA Tele-ART Service now valid for VTL on-arrival testing
I’ve previously written about DA Tele-ART, a tele-supervised ART that’s accepted for pre-event, pre-departure and on-arrival testing. This is a pilot programme run in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, so you can be assured it’s all above board.
The Tele-ART service is available daily from 9 a.m to 6 p.m and costs S$12.84 nett, plus the cost of your own HSA-approved ART kit (roughly S$5).
DA has now confirmed (via a push notification) that its Tele-ART service is acceptable for on-arrival testing.
When booking an appointment on the DA app, you’ll be able to select “VTL Arrival in Singapore (D1 swab)” as the reason for taking an ART.
Presumably, if you book an appointment via the DA app there’s no need to use the link that the ICA sends you. One would assume their systems are all synced up on the back end, so ICA should know that you’ve fulfilled the requirement.
Do note that each traveller will need to use his/her own DA account to book a supervised ART appointment. You cannot book appointments for multiple people on the same account.
You will receive your certified supervised ART test results in-app immediately, and over SMS/email within 4 hours.
Tele-ART cuts out the hassle of travelling to a QTC/CTC (it is possible to book the Raffles Medical clinic in the basement of Terminal 3, but slots are disappearing fast). It also means that you could theoretically find a quiet spot in the airport to swab, and once cleared, take public transport home.
How do Tele-ARTs work?
If you’re curious as to how the Tele-ART process works, you can refer to the step by step guide here.
Basically, you’ll need to make an appointment on the DA app, during which you’ll register your own HSA-approved ART kit and provide your personal details. During the appointment, you’ll do the following:
After the appointment, your validated results will be received within via SMS/email. However, you will also have supervised ART results in-app immediately.
Recap: New VTL process
Here’s a summary of the simplified VTL process that takes effect from today (22 February 2022):
|✔️ VTL Eligibility Criteria|
|Short-term visitors & Work permit holders|
|*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt|
^Exception for children aged 12 and below, if they are accompanied by vaccinated traveller
In addition to the simplified on-arrival testing regime, the requirement to do Day 2-7 self-administered ARTs has been removed, and there is no need for fully vaccinated long-term passholders to apply for a VTP (with the exception of work permit holders).
You can catch up with all the stories below:
- Major VTL changes: Supervised ARTs to replace PCR tests; VTP not required for long-term passholders
- Singapore caps SHN at 7 days; removes mandatory hotel quarantine
- Singapore scraps COVID-19 test requirement for transit passengers through Changi Airport
VTL travellers to Singapore make the switch from PCR tests to ARTs today, which is great news in terms of money and time saved. It’s even better now that you can do a tele-ART in lieu of visiting a QTC/CTC, making the arrivals process as painless as possible (well, nose violation aside).
If you have experiences with DA Tele-ART, do share. How long do you typically wait for the results?