Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Singapore halts sales of VTL tickets due to Covid



Singapore halts sales of VTL tickets due to Covid

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Singapore has stopped sales of vaccinated travel land (VTL) flight tickets from Thursday until January 20 amid rising cases of Covid-19. THE STRAITS TIMES

Singapore halts sales of VTL tickets due to Covid

Airlines will no longer be allowed to sell new vaccinated travel lane (VTL) flight tickets for travel into Singapore from December 23 until January 20, as the country tightens its borders amid a rising number of imported Covid-19 cases.

The suspension of sales also applies to those travelling on the Singapore-Malaysia land VTL.

But eligible travellers who have earlier bought tickets will still be allowed to travel via the quarantine-free travel scheme.

The Ministry of Health announced the new border measures on December 22. The move – the biggest setback in Singapore’s attempt to reopen its borders so far – comes as the number of imported cases hit a new high since the emergence of the Omicron variant.

“Our border measures will help to buy us time to study and understand the Omicron variant, and to strengthen our defences, including enhancing our healthcare capacity and getting more people vaccinated and boosted,” the ministry said.

The authorities will also temporarily reduce VTL quotas and ticket sales for travel after January 20, in another move to limit exposure to imported Omicron cases.

The VTL scheme allows fully vaccinated travellers from selected countries to enter Singapore without having to serve quarantine. This facilitates quarantine-free travel to countries which have earlier opened up to Singapore.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said it will cap total ticket sales on VTL flights into Singapore at 50 per cent of the allocated quota from January 21.

Additional precautions will also be put in place to protect the aviation community, it added.

First, all airport workers who interact with arriving passengers, including those working in public areas such as taxi stands, will have to wear more personal protective equipment. This includes N95 masks and face shields.

Second, all front-line airport workers will minimally be placed on seven-day polymerase chain reaction (PCR) rostered routine testing, instead of the current seven-day antigen rapid test (ART) routine testing cycle.

In addition, for higher risk front-line airport workers, there will be an employer-supervised ART on the third day of their seven-day PCR testing cycle. This will also apply for Singapore air crew.

In a Facebook post on December 22, transport minister S Iswaran reiterated that those who have already bought VTL flight tickets and meet VTL requirements will still be able to travel to Singapore without quarantine.

“I understand that some might be disappointed by these changes to the VTL scheme, but it is an essential and prudent measure to protect public health,” he said.

“It is crucial that we tighten our safeguards when warranted by the public health risk assessment, to protect the health and safety of our fellow Singaporeans, front-line aviation workers and travellers.”

The ministry also said that travellers entering Singapore under the VTL scheme will face stricter enforcement.

All VTL travellers must test negative on their self-administered ART before going out for activities each day. The only exception is on day three and day seven of their arrival, when travellers must undergo supervised testing at a testing centre before going about their activities.

As of December 20, there were 71 confirmed Omicron cases detected in Singapore, with 65 imported cases and six local cases. The ministry has said that given Omicron’s high transmissibility and spread to many parts of the world, Singapore should expect to find more Omicron cases.

THE STRAITS TIMES (SINGAPORE)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the