Singapore is opening up quarantine-free travel to fully vaccinated individuals from Germany and Brunei. The restrictions placed on travelers from Germany and Brunei are set to be relaxed on September 8th, but strict rules will still apply for those taking advantage of the scheme.
For several months now, a global resumption of travel has been slowly gathering pace as the rate of vaccinated individuals continues to climb. Short-haul was the first to show signs of recovery, but more and more long-haul travel is now becoming possible. Singapore is now opening its doors to a very limited set of travelers.
Vaccine Travel Lanes
From September 8th, Singapore will open so-called “Vaccine Travel Lanes” from Germany and Brunei. Travelers who meet the requirements to participate in the program will be exempt from quarantining when arriving in the city-state. The trade-off is that eligible travelers must undergo four PCR tests at various stages,
- Within 48 hours before departure
- On arrival at Changi Airport (passengers must still self isolate until this test comes back negative)
- On day three after arrival
- On day seven after arrival
Of course, some other rules need to be followed besides making COVID-19 swabs into a new hobby. As the name suggests, an entire course of the COVID-19 vaccine is required for this to work. Prospective travelers must have received the final dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 days ago. They must also have spent the preceding 21 days in Germany or Brunei.
To qualify for the program, travelers will need to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass. During the application, they will pay for the day three and seven PCR tests. On top of this, passengers may need to acquire a visa before travel. Regardless of visa status, short-term visitors must have travel insurance covering COVID-19 medical costs to at least S$30,000 ($22,003) and download the Singapore contact tracing app. A complete list of criteria is available here.
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Finally, Passengers taking advantage of the scheme will have to fly onboard a specially designated flight. From Germany, such flights are operated by Lufthansa, Scoot, and Singapore Airlines. From Brunei, they are operated by Royal Brunei Airlines and Singapore Airlines.
Returning to Germany
Singapore isn’t currently considered a COVID-19 risk destination by Germany. That means that return travel is pretty simple compared to flying to Singapore. As the passengers using the scheme will be fully vaccinated, they just need to show up for the flight with proof of vaccination. No registration is required, nor are any tests or quarantine.
A boost for travel?
While it’s great to see that quarantine-free travel for vaccinated individuals will become possible, it seems unlikely to increase the number of individuals flying to the city drastically. The on-arrival test costs S$160 ($117.34), on top of the costs of the three other PCR tests, meaning traveling will be expensive, even for those traveling alone. As such, it seems the program may be more popular with people needing to visit the city for business or family reasons instead of tourists.
What do you make of the Singapore Vaccine Travel Lane scheme? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!