International COVID 19 OMICRON: S’pore freezes new VTL bookings until Jan 20, 2022 to limit...

OMICRON: S’pore freezes new VTL bookings until Jan 20, 2022 to limit exposure to imported cases

“To limit our exposure to imported Omicron cases, we will impose limits on the number of VTL arrivals for the time being.” — MOH

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Singapore — Beginning Thursday (Dec 23) until Jan 20, 2022, all new ticket sales for vaccinated travel lane (VTL) flights and bus journeys will be suspended, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

“To limit our exposure to imported Omicron cases, we will impose limits on the number of VTL arrivals for the time being,” said MOH in a press release on Wednesday (Dec 22).

In addition to the freezing of new ticket sales on said dates, authorities are temporarily reducing VTL quotas and ticket sales after Jan 20, 2022.

Meanwhile, all travellers who already hold a ticket on a VTL flight or bus and meet all the other VTL requirements can continue to travel under the scheme, MOH noted.

Those who are not Singapore Citizens nor Singapore Permanent Residents can also continue to apply for their Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) through the following link, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry in a separate press release.

Singaporeans, permanent residents and children aged 12 and below are not required to apply for a VTP to enter Singapore.

Border measures to buy time

The enhanced travel restrictions were imposed by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce for Covid-19 amid the emergence of the Covid-19 Omicron variant globally.

“We are picking up more Omicron cases because of the rapid spread of the variant across many countries or regions,” said MOH.

To date, there are 71 confirmed Omicron cases in Singapore.

“With aggressive contact tracing and ringfencing measures, we have, for now, been able to limit onward community transmission.” However, it is only a matter of time before the variant spreads in the community, MOH admitted.

Imposing border measures allows Singapore to buy time to study and understand the Omicron variant and strengthen defences, including healthcare capacity and boosting vaccination initiatives.

Stricter enforcement for VTL travellers

In its press release, MOH reminded all VTL travellers to strictly adhere to the enhanced testing regime upon arrival in Singapore.

They must take an on-arrival test and test themselves daily using self-administered antigen rapid tests (ARTs).

On days two, four, five and six, they must submit the results online. On days three and seven, the tests are done under supervision at a Combined Test Centre or Quick Test Centre, said MOH.

Travellers must test negative on their self-administered ART before going out for activities on that day.

Those who fail to comply will be issued a stay-order or stay-home notice and face enforcement actions under the Infectious Diseases Act.

“We seek everyone’s continued effort and cooperation to exercise social responsibility and comply with all the measures that have been put in place,” said MOH, urging the public to test oneself regularly and follow health protocols. /TISG

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