Singapore lifts restrictions on ten African countries; puts VTL program on hold

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Singapore’s Ministry of Health announced on December 26, 2021, that it is adjusting its approach to manage the COVID-19 Omicron variant, and one of these adjustments is lifting its travel restrictions on ten African countries.

In its online announcement, the Ministry of Health declared that from December 26, 2021, at 23:59 hours, Singapore is ending its travel restrictions on the following African countries: 

Botswana, Eswatini, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

All passengers with a 14-day travel history to the African countries above will be allowed to enter and transit through Singapore and will be subjected to border measures for Category IV countries/regions.   

What this means is that passengers from any of these 10 countries must take a PCR test within two days before departure to Singapore, as well as a PCR test upon arrival. They will also have to serve a 10-day stay-at-home notice at a dedicated quarantine facility. Another PCR test will be administered at the end of their quarantine period. 

Prior to the travel restriction lift, long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to these African countries were not allowed to enter or transit Singapore following initial reports on Omicron cases in the region.

“International evidence indicates that the Omicron variant is likely to be more transmissible but less severe than the Delta variant, and that vaccines, especially boosters, retain substantial protection against hospitalisations caused by Omicron. In the last week, we had several unlinked Omicron cases as well as clusters in the community. This was not unexpected given the high transmissibility of the variant,” the Ministry of Health said in its statement online. 

Meanwhile, Singapore’s VTL (Vaccinated Travel Lane) Program has been put on hold until January 20, 2022.   

The VTL allows quarantine-free travel to Singapore via air. Selected countries, like the UK, United States, Australia and Germany. 

In its official VTL website, the country announced that from December 22, 2021, there will be no new ticket sales for all designated VTL flights for entry into Singapore until January 20, 2022, 2359 local time. Ticket sales for entry from January 21, 2022 will also be temporarily reduced.

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