COVID-19 has changed many things including the way we travel internationally. In current times, stringent preventive measures have been implemented for those travelling as an initiative to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As such, Singapore has implemented Safe Travel Lanes such as the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme that allows fully vaccinated travellers to travel to and fro between Singapore and selected countries.¹
All you will have to do is to book a designated VTL flight, abide by the conditions set by the local authorities and you’re ready to travel again.
Pre-travel planning is important for VTL travellers to avoid any hiccups during your trip. Here are some important information that you should take note of when travelling abroad via the VTL.
The Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme allows vaccinated travellers from Singapore to enter another country and vice versa, without the need to adhere to a quarantine period¹.
Individuals using the VTL will enjoy quarantine-free travel, with the condition that they conform to the requirements determined by the receiving country.
Vaccinated adults from Singapore and those travelling from the list of permitted countries may have access to the VTL.
Children are allowed to travel via the VTL scheme as well, but a fully vaccinated VTL traveller must accompany the child.¹
For those who are departing from Singapore to a VTL country or region, here is a reminder that you will be required to check with the authorities of your travel destination on their travel requirements.
On top of being fully vaccinated, VTL travellers are required to undergo several COVID-19 tests throughout their trip.¹ This is to prevent the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus², the virus that causes COVID-19. Self-isolation upon arrival and self-testing during your trip might also be necessary.
You may be thinking, “Why do I need to undergo multiple COVID-19 tests just to travel from one VTL destination to another?”.
VTL countries around the world, Singapore included, are enforcing stringent testing measures as an effort to identify active COVID-19 infections and prevent the spread of the virus as ultimately, this important step could save lives.³
It is still possible for vaccinated individuals to be infected with COVID-19 and therefore, COVID-19 testing remains an important factor in curbing the spread of the disease.⁴ Plus, as new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus emerge and Variants Of Concern (VOC) may increase the risk of reinfection⁵, COVID-19 testing will continue to play an important role for all⁶, including VTL travellers.
COVID-19 self-testing is another risk-reduction measure, along with other COVID-19 preventive measures. While self-testing is an initiative of your own, it can give you useful information about the risk of spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus to others.⁷
This makes self-testing especially important if you’re reuniting with your grandchildren who may be unvaccinated, heading to a family dinner with grandparents, meeting immunocompromised individuals and those with underlying medical conditions that may be at a higher risk of falling severely sick from COVID-19.⁷ Ultimately, having the responsibility to self-test reduces the risk of a COVID-19 among those you love.
You may consider self-testing prior to meeting up with friends, gathering with your family to celebrate a special occasion and even before you head out of the door to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city you are visiting.
The best part is, self-testing for COVID-19 with the Antigen Rapid Test (ART) self-test kit is quick and easy.³ This makes it possible for you to travel with a peace of mind as you are able to conduct a test at any time, without having to worry about disrupting your holiday schedule.
The ART self-test kit is light, easy to carry around and most importantly, convenient. You can self-test anywhere and it is safe to be used by adults as well as children above the age of 2, with the help of an adult.⁸
While you enjoy your time abroad, there are some important measures to help you make the best out of your trip and travel with a peace of mind.
As part of the VTL requirement, all travelers will need to undergo pre-departure COVID-19 testing and another test upon arrival in your destination country.⁹
This requirement also gives travellers a more carefree travel experience knowing that those travelling around you have boarded the flight with a negative COVID-19 test result as well.
It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling alone or in a group, booking all required COVID-19 tests required for your trip in advance could help to avoid any predicaments while travelling.
When booking for your COVID-19 tests, do ensure that the COVID-19 test provider you’re engaging with is a recognized and accredited medical facility.¹⁰ For a list of authorised COVID-19 test providers in Singapore, you may visit the Ministry of Health’s official website.
Travelling via the VTL does require a couple of additional documents to be presented at several points such as during check-in at the airport and at the customs checkpoint. All documents must be authentic and abide by the receiving country’s requirements.
To facilitate the verification process of your travel documents by relevant authorities locally and abroad, those travelling from Singapore may have their pre-departure test certificate and vaccination certificate verified via the Notarise portal. The relevant documents will be digitally authenticated and endorsed by Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) to help travellers share the digital certificates easily with the relevant authorities.¹¹
The COVID-19 vaccine protects a vaccinated individual from the severity of the virus, hospitalisation and death. In other words, a vaccinated individual can still be infected and possibly infect others too. The World Health Organization (WHO) encourages all individuals to continue taking precautions to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to those they come in contact with such as family and friends.⁴
To travel safely as well as to protect those around you, here is a reminder to practice protective behaviours at all times. They include:
Wear a well-fitted mask that covers your mouth and nose.⁴
Practice social distancing of at least a metre away from each other.⁴
Avoid poor-ventilated areas.⁴
Wash your hands well and frequently.⁴
Self-test for COVID-19 to reduce the chances of transmitting the virus.⁷ Do you need to stock up for your trip? Travel worry-free and get your ART self-test kits here.
Stay informed on the progress of the COVID-19 situation in the country you are visiting.⁴
Plan ahead especially when visiting popular tourist attractions to avoid crowded areas.¹²
As the world adapts to constant evolving changes due to the pandemic, one of the best ways to stay informed is to visit official websites for up-to-date information such as updated VTL guidelines and requirements. By doing so, you will be able to plan your trip well and prevent being caught off-guard with sudden changes.
On top of that, some countries have introduced digital tools such as contact tracing mobile applications to improve the efficiency of identifying individuals exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Singapore for example, has developed the TraceTogether application to help with contact tracing.¹³ On a side note, if you are not able to have access to the TraceTogether app, a physical token is available too.¹³ Similar contact tracing tools are available in other VTL destinations too such as the MySejahtera app for those travelling to Malaysia¹⁴ and the COVIDSafe app for those in Australia¹⁵. To ease your travelling experience, you could download the contact tracing app of your destination country, prior to your trip.
You may self-test using an ART kit at any time, at your convenience. There is no ‘best time’ per say because you should stay safe at all times. Instead, consider doing a self-test prior to meeting others such as before an indoor gathering and encourage those you are meeting to do the same too7.
If you had been in close contact with a COVID-19 patient prior to your departure for Singapore, you’re encouraged to defer your travel plans.16
Firstly, it is important to check on all VTL travel requirements and restrictions that are applicable to your family. Do also check on travel insurance for your entire family to ensure that COVID-19 related medical coverage is included. Planning your travel itinerary in advance will be helpful too but do keep in mind that there could be sudden changes in certain policies and this could affect your travel plans.
Plus, when packing for your trip, do remember to include a sufficient amount of face masks, hand sanitizers as well as ART self-test kits to stay safe while you and your family have a good time abroad.13
The Vaccinated Travel Lanes make it possible for loved ones and friends to reunite after a long time of being apart. Testing for COVID-19 remains an important factor in not only protecting public health but also those you care about. Do not forget to book your pre-departure COVID-19 test in advance to ensure that you receive your test results in time for your flight and be sure to have some ART self-test kits with you to have a peace of mind everywhere you go.
For updates on travel requirements for VTL travellers arriving and departing Singapore, visit safetravel.ica.gov.sg.
Roche is committed to help put a stop to COVID-19 by producing reliable and highly sensitive COVID-19 tests. Our portfolio includes all recognized types of COVID-19 tests, which are the PCR test, ART and Serology test. This important commitment helps to deliver effective results and ultimately, play a critical role in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.¹⁷