Singapore will reopen its borders to all fully vaccinated travellers from 1 April 2022, under the Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF).
This means no more quarantine, regardless of which country you arrive from or what flight you take. On-arrival testing has also been eliminated, with pre-departure tests potentially on the chopping board in the next 2-4 weeks.
|✔️At a glance: Vaccinated Travel Framework
(Starts: 1 April 2022)
|ICA: VTF Checklist
What went relatively unnoticed among the announcements, however, was a revision in policy towards COVID-19 treatment for returning travellers.
Under the VTF, fully vaccinated Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long Term Passholders (SCs, PRs, LTPHs) will no longer need to pay for their medical bills incurred for COVID-19 treatment, just like the rest of the broader community.
No payment required for COVID-19 treatment
Currently, SCs/PRs/LTPHs who develop COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days of return to Singapore are responsible for medical bills incurred in hospitals or community treatment facilities. They are, however, permitted to tap on subsidies and insurance where applicable (provided they are fully vaccinated).
SCs and PRs can access government subsidies and MediShield Life/ Integrated Shield Plans to pay for their bills, while LTPHs can rely on private insurance.
With the launch of the VTF on 1 April, the MOH has decided that:
- Fully vaccinated SCs/PRs/LTPHs who return from General Category countries will not be required to pay for COVID-19 related medical bills in hospitals and community treatment facilities, even if they develop symptoms with 14 days of return
- All SCs/PRs/LTPHs (regardless of vaccination status) who return from Restricted Category countries will be required to pay for COVID-19 related medical bills in hospitals and community treatment facilities, should they develop symptoms with 7 days of return
The second point is moot for now, since there are no countries currently on the Restricted Category list. This is reserved for when new Variants of Concern are identified.
As a reminder, here’s how border measures differ between General Category and Restricted Category countries.
|None for now
|Professional ART or PCR within 2 days of departure
|PCR within 2 days of departure
|On Arrival Test
|7 days (home)
|7 days (hotel)
|*Unvax children aged 12 and under are counted as fully vaxxed.
Unvaccinated travellers returning from General Category countries will remain responsible for COVID-19 treatment costs.
What about short-term visitors?
Short-term visitors remain responsible for any COVID-19 medical bills incurred during their stay in Singapore, regardless of vaccination status (not that unvaccinated short-term visitors are allowed in, anyway, except for compassionate reasons).
However, Singapore has scrapped the mandatory travel insurance requirement for fully vaccinated short-term visitors, effective 1 April. It’s up to the traveller to decide whether they’re willing to take the risk.
Details: Vaccinated Travel Framework
In case you missed the big news, here’s a summary of the new VTF that kicks in from 1 April 2022.
|✔️ Vaccinated Travel Framework
& Unvax. Children ≤12
|*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt
tl;dr: fully vaccinated travellers can enter Singapore on any flight without quarantine, just like the good old days. A pre-departure test is still required, but this may be scrapped in the next 2-4 weeks.
With the commencement of the VTF on 1 April, the Singapore government will once again foot the bill for any COVID-19 medical treatment incurred by returning SCs/PRs/LTPHs, in line with the policy for the local community.
Given the general mildness of Omicron and the fact that you can already tap government subsidies and insurance for treatment, I can’t imagine the fear of a major COVID-19 medical bill was keeping most people from travelling.
But it’s good to know they’ve got your back come what may, and another reason to go out and see the world after two years of isolation.