Singapore relaxes restrictions, announces a vaccinated travel lane in the US

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Singapore reduces entry requirements for vaccinated travelers from the United States, effective October 19.

The country’s Ministry of Transport announced plans to expand its vaccinated travel lanes, or VTL, to eight more countries, allowing them to enter without a quarantine period. The country initially opened travel lanes to two countries, Brunei and Germany, on 8 September.

Singapore officials labeled the travel lanes as a success after only two of the more than 3,100 passengers who entered Singapore from the two countries filed COVID-19 cases. Both cases were identified by PCR tests, and the travelers were isolated and had no interaction with the community, according to Transport Minister S. Iswaran.

“We have closely monitored the VTL scheme and the results encourage us,” Iswaran said on Saturday.

Test requirements for travelers

Most American citizens cannot travel to Singapore for short-term visits.

From October 19, U.S. travelers can enter Singapore as long as they show a vaccination test and a negative test using a PCR test twice: once 48 hours before departure and once upon arrival. .

Travelers must also prove that they have only been in a VTL-approved country during the 14 days prior to departure.

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Restoration of two-way travel

Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK and Canada will also have access to the VTLs this October, Iswarni announced on Saturday. A joint launch of VTL with South Korea, which will begin on November 15, was previously announced on Friday.

Altogether, the 11 countries, including the US, Brunei and Germany, are among Singapore’s top 20 trading partners and account for around 10% of the country’s annual passenger arrivals before the pandemic at Changi Airport. .

“The 8 countries are already open to Singapore travelers. Therefore, the VTLs will restore quarantine-free two-way travel between Singapore and them,” the Transport Minister said.

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“An important step” for the reopening of Singapore’s borders

Applications for the transport lanes open on Tuesday and travelers can enter the country from October 19, Iswaran said. No more than 3,000 daily arrivals will be allowed from VTL countries per day.

“We will monitor the incidence rate, we will observe the demand, before deciding on any capacity increase,” Iswaran said. “While it is still a long way from where we were before COVID, this is an important step in reopening our borders and is crucial to regaining and rebuilding our status as an international aviation hub with global connectivity.”

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The announcement comes when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong presents an updated plan for a “new normal” in Singapore, moving away from a goal of “Zero COVID” to “Living with COVID-19” now that more than 85% of its population is fully vaccinated.

“It will take us at least three months, and maybe up to six months to reach this new normal,” he said Saturday. “They will try in the coming months. I hope the daily cases continue to increase for a few weeks. Our healthcare system will still be under pressure. We can slow down, but we can’t stop the Delta variant. “

Follow USA TODAY journalist Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.

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