Planning to have a safe travel to Singapore? Now is the perfect time to do so! With many restrictions imposed on travelling abroad and even to Singapore, many of us have been waiting patiently for the borders to ease as well as keeping hope that someday it might go back to how it was pre-pandemic. Finally, after much anticipation, Singapore announced its Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) in September 2021. During this VTL scheme, fully vaccinated travellers may enter Singapore as long as they quarantine for in Singapore for 14 days upon arrival or quarantined in the country of departure before departing to Singapore. Necessary tests such as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab tests were to be taken twice, before departure and on-arrival. Over time, many countries were added to the list of the VTL scheme.
Until recently, PM Lee announced the ease of restrictions imposed for the travel industry which includes travelling freely abroad and for those who wish to come to Singapore. This means that many of us will be able to start their trip in Singapore without having to quarantine and take VTL flights to come to Singapore! Travellers are also allowed to transit in Singapore while heading to another destination. So how else has it changed and what can tourists expect coming to Singapore?
1. Following a checklist for travellers
While travelling to Singapore is more relaxed now, there are still certain documents you will need to produce beforehand besides preparing your passports and plane tickets. It is a necessary requirement for you to be fully vaccinated while those who are under 12 will be allowed to travel if they are not fully vaccinated. Firstly, in order to prove you have been fully vaccinated, you will need to produce a vaccination documentation for authorities to check. Especially travellers from overseas will need to provide this information since your vaccination needs to be recognised by Singapore. The Digitally Verifiable Vaccination Certificate (DVC) will give a vaccination acceptance letter for use. Feel free to check out the recognised DVC here if you are interested to travel to Singapore. For those who are arriving in Singapore for work related purposes, entry approvals and other documents such as work permits must ensure they are valid for use.
To get pass your immigration clearance, you will have to submit a SG Arrival Card (SGAC) at least 3 days prior to your return or arrival in Singapore. The use of the SGAC e-service is free of charge for everyone. SGAC is essentially a health declaration which you will need to submit to the ICA officers at the immigration counter. While a pre-departure test is not required for those entering Singapore from Malaysia and those who have tested positive for COVID-19 between 7 to 90 days from your date of departure, a travel PCR test or an ART test will be required at least 2 days before, from the country you are departing from.
Finally, according to the rules, you will need to download the Trace Together contact tracing app which is used to monitor the whereabouts of the people in Singapore to combat COVID-19. After this process, you will need to follow the health protocols in Singapore. To find out more information about how this works here in Singapore, check this link out!
2. How Singapore handled the pandemic
Many of you must be eager to come to Singapore but you might be wondering about how it is like in Singapore. While the situation started quite seriously at the beginning of 2020, it eventually got better over time. When the cases first started and escalated very quickly, the government ensured that the facilities were enough while the healthcare workers were working very hard to help those in need. Singapore managed to have the lowest rates of COVID-19 deaths in the world. With many implementations and restrictions imposed, everyone in Singapore had to work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, with new waves constantly hitting, we always had to go back to square one. Whenever the people thought we had it under control, the cases would continue to rise.
With the more dangerous delta variant starting to spread shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic, Singapore had implemented a vaccination programme which helped to decrease the spread of COVID-19. The government had to ensure that the strict measures were in place until everyone who was eligible to take the vaccine had completed their doses. Many people unfortunately fell sick during this time and had to be hospitalised. While this delta variant was progressing to subside, the outbreak of the more infectious Omicron variant struck which intensified the current situation. More people were now susceptible to contracting the virus which made cases go up to 25,000 in a day. Since our vaccination programme were continuously climbing, while our healthcare system stood strong, Singapore had to tighten the measures again and re-enforce stricter Safety Management Measures (SMM) guidelines to allow the healthcare system and workers more time to manage with the current situation. Fortunately, over the past few weeks in March 2022, the Omicron variant were less severe which allowed cases to significantly drop on a week-on-week basis bringing the ratio to about 0.8. Continuing at this rate, the daily number of cases will be half of what it was in about three weeks. With this, Singapore can look forward to re-opening its borders for tourists to come to Singapore.
3. What’s in store for tourists when you come to Singapore?
The resumption of business activities in Singapore will allow you to experience many different tours and attractions all around the island. While maintaining the SMM guidelines, you can look forward to the re-opening to your most anticipated places you wish to visit. Not only during the day but with the lift in the nightlife restriction, you can expect the nightlife in Singapore to be better. The restriction of the nightlife activities was implemented to help the prevent the spread of the virus which included social events, live performances and consumption of alcohol after 10.30pm. Feel free to check out our article on the new guidelines implemented recently here.
After the resumption of travelling abroad, all countries will be classified under 2 categories which are the General Travel or Restricted Category. Currently all countries have been classified under the General Category which will be adjusted when new developments towards the pandemic scene affects the local and global scenes. For example, in the near future, if you visited a country that falls under the restricted list, you may not be able to enter Singapore or you might have to follow some restrictions which has yet to be confirmed. To keep updated on these categories, feel free to read this article which summarises everything you need to know about the categories. Some countries that have now been added to the 2-way quarantine-free VTLs are Australia, Malaysia, Germany, Philippines, India, UK, USA and many more! If you wish to check if your country allows a quarantine free travel to Singapore, feel free to check this list of VTL flights to Singapore.
We hope this guide was useful to you and managed to learn more about how Singapore is healing from the start of the pandemic. If you love to explore Singapore and learn more about the different cultures here without having to plan, you can check out our walking tours! Hope you enjoy your time here and stay safe!