, Singapore

VTL scheme has worked well: Israwan

The sentiments were also echoed by IATA’s Regional VP for APAC, Philip Goh.

The vaccinated travel scheme (VTL) has worked well, a high-ranking government official said, which bodes well to the expansion of the programme.

"Over the past month, the various stakeholders,  including airlines, Changi Airport and our government  agencies,  have  gained  valuable  experience  through  the  implementation of the VTL... With the experience and confidence gained from these  initial VTLs, we are now ready to expand the scheme to more Category II countries/regions," said Minister for Transport  S Iswaran in a speech delivered 9 October.

He attributed the success of the VTL scheme to the 3,100 travelers covered by the scheme. 

Of these travelers, only 2 cases were detected due to a PCR test taken at their point of arrival. These were isolated before interaction with the community. 

Aside from that, all travellers have also complied with the testing regime, which includes being tested post-arrival on days 3 and 7. 

On the expansion of VTLs to Category II countries and regions, Israwan said the government is working on the requirements for an authenticated proof of vaccination and the disclosure 14-day travel history from travellers.

A reduction to two tests, one taken 48 hours prior to departure and an on-arrival PCR test, will also be set in place. Currently, four PCR tests are required,  with two on the third and seventh day after arrival, as well as a pre-departure and on-arrival PCR test. 

Philip Goh, Regional VP for APAC, International Air Transport Association, pointed at how this specific amendment can lower travel costs, as well as how the overall initiative boosts air travel recovery.

“Singapore’s experience from the vaccinated travel lane with Germany and Brunei has clearly given the country the confidence to expand the scheme.  This is a positive and promising development for the aviation and travel sector.  The easing of the testing regime for vaccinated travellers on vaccinated travel lanes from 4 to 2 PCR tests will reduce travel costs.  That’s an equally important and positive factor. These data-based decisions to open up borders progressively will certainly boost air travel recovery,” Goh said.

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