singapore: Pre-departure Covid-19 tests not required for vaccinated travelers to Singapore

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All vaccinated travellers arriving in Singapore via air or sea checkpoints will no longer need to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test as restrictions for controlling the spread of the coronavirus are eased.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) also announced that from July 1, all long-term pass holders aged 13 and above travelling to Singapore will have to be fully vaccinated before entering the country, unless they are medically ineligible for vaccines.

This is a change from the present rule, which states that long-term pass holders aged between 13 and 17 can travel into Singapore even if they are not fully vaccinated.

The ministry said in a statement on Friday that it is now requiring vaccinations for this group “given the increased availability of vaccines globally for those aged between 13 and 17”.

With the latest easing of restrictions on people’s movement in COVID-19 environment, fully vaccinated and well travellers will no longer need to be tested for COVID-19 to enter Singapore, it said.

All vaccinated travellers and non-fully vaccinated children aged 12 and below arriving in Singapore via air or sea checkpoints will no longer need to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test, effective midnight Tuesday.

The entry requirements for travellers who are aged 13 and above and not fully vaccinated remain unchanged, reported TODAY newspaper quoting the MOH statement.

This means that travellers still have to take a pre-departure test within two days before leaving for Singapore, undergo a seven-day stay-home order and take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at the end of the isolation period.

Such tests are also required for vaccinated travellers for now, until the new rules take effect.

For people travelling through the land checkpoints of Malaysia and Singapore, pre-departure or on-arrival Covid tests are also not needed if the traveller is fully vaccinated.

From May 1, fully vaccinated non-Malaysian work permit holders who have an in-principle approval document for them to work in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors no longer need to apply for entry approvals to enter Singapore, MOH said.

Instead, they will need to book a slot at the onboard centre of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to undergo residential onboarding upon arrival.

The centre is a one-stop venue for them to verify their vaccination, get enhanced medical examination and learn to settle into the country, among other needs.

These workers are also required to undergo a two-day Pre-Departure Preparatory Programme if it is available in their home countries — namely Bangladesh, India and Myanmar — before they can enter Singapore from May 1, according to the Today report.

Within Singapore, there will no longer be limits to group sizes or workplace capacities here from next Tuesday (April 26).

For the first time in more than two years, the city state’s disease outbreak response system condition (Dorscon) level will also be stepped down from orange to yellow, in what Health Minister Ong Ye Kung called a major milestone in Singapore’s pandemic journey.

Dorscon gives an indication of the disease outbreak situation and measures needed to control infections.

In a series of sweeping changes and the strongest push yet for a return to normal, MOH said that from next Tuesday, individuals will no longer be required to keep to a group of 10 people for mask-off activities, while the use of SafeEntry and TraceTogether (apps for verifying vaccination status) will cease at most venues.

At the same time, the multi-ministry task force on COVID-19 urged Singaporeans to stay vigilant and maintain readiness in the face of potential risks, and stressed that the pandemic is not over.

Ong, who is co-chair of the task force, said one such risk is of a new wave of infections emerging in the coming months as protection from vaccines and past infections wanes. Another worrying risk is of the emergence of a new variant of concern.

“This continues to be a potential curveball that may knock us back to square one, and we must be alert to that,” he said at a press conference on Friday.

All workers may now also return to the workplace from next Tuesday, up from the current limit of 75 per cent of those who can work from home.

The ministry said that with the current changes, almost all of Singapore’s safe management measures, with the exception of the wearing of masks indoors, will be eased.

Noting that Singapore has gone through many rounds of restrictions, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said on Friday that the changes are a “very significant step forward” in Singapore’s journey to live with Covid.

“Two years isn’t that long, but it somehow feels like a lifetime ago because so much has happened, and we have been through so much together,” said Wong, who co-chairs the task force, virtually from the United States where he is on a work trip.

“And working together, we have been able to keep everyone in Singapore safe, to protect lives and livelihoods, and to achieve one of the lowest Covid-19 fatality rates in the world.”

“With these changes, we can now have a well-deserved breather after two very difficult years of fighting the virus. But let’s always remember, we are getting closer to the finish line but the race is not over,” he said.

“The pandemic is certainly not over. A new variant will emerge sooner or later… No one can predict what this next variant will be. And if need be, we may very well have to tighten our restrictions,” said Wong.



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