Singapore is suspending new ticket sales on so-called ‘Vaccinated Travel Lane’ (VTL) flights from December 23, 2021, to January 20, 2022, in an effort to slow the spread of the Omicron variant and give the small city-state more time to study and understand the virus while also getting more citizens vaccinated and boosted.
Travelers from Germany and Brunei were among the first to benefit from the VTL scheme, which permitted them to bypass quarantine upon arrival in Singapore.
The scheme was immediately expanded to eight additional nations, including the United Kingdom and the United States, and has subsequently developed to include a land border bus crossing with Malaysia.
However, due to Omicron worries, Singapore’s civil aviation regulator announced on Wednesday that fresh ticket sales for selected VTL flights will be suspended. During the suspension time, the regulator would enable tourists to travel on existing reservations.
Ticket sales for VTL flights will be permitted beginning January 22, 2022, but will be limited to 50% of the allocated capacity.
“Because of the rapid spread of the variation across various nations, we are picking up more Omicron instances,” Singapore’s Ministry of Health said on Wednesday. “So far, our expanded traveler testing has assisted us in detecting 65 confirmed Omicron cases.”
“We have been able to limit forward community dissemination for the time being thanks to active contact tracing and ringfencing efforts.”
But it’ll only be a matter of time before the Omicron variety spreads throughout our neighborhood.”
“Our border measures will afford us time to investigate and comprehend the Omicron variety, as well as build our defenses, such as expanding our healthcare capacity and having more people vaccinated and supplemented,” the statement stated.
Travelers must be completely vaccinated and perform two PCR tests – the first within 48 hours of departure and the second upon arrival in Singapore – to be eligible to fly on a VTL aircraft.
VTL travelers have also been asked to self-test utilizing quick antigen testing on days 2, 4, 5, and 6 following arrival since the development of the Omicron variety.
Rapid antigen testing must be done under supervision on days 3 and 7 at a government-approved test center as additional protection.
“In light of the global rise in Omicron cases, travelers should take personal responsibility, limit their social connections, and avoid high-risk mask-off activities,” the Ministry of Health stated.