All arriving in S'pore from Malaysia via land VTL must take ART on arrival in view of Omicron variant

SINGAPORE – Those travelling from Malaysia to Singapore via the land vaccinated travel lane (VTL) will be required to take an antigen rapid test (ART) upon arrival here.

This will take effect from 8am on Monday (Nov 29), when the first land VTL travellers arrive in Singapore.

This was announced by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Sunday in view of recent reports of the new B.1.1.529 strain of the coronavirus, named Omicron, which is potentially more contagious.

The on-arrival ART will be administered at the two designated arrival points for those using the land VTL – Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange and Queen Street Terminal.

In responses to queries from The Straits Times, an MTI spokesman said that travellers whose on-arrival Covid-19 ART result is positive will be required to undergo a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at any Swab and Send Home clinic. 

“Those tested positive for the PCR will be issued a 10-day isolation order and placed on home recovery programme,” the spokesman added.

Travellers will be required to make an e-payment for the ART at the testing centre directly, said MTI.

It was previously announced last Wednesday that those travelling from Malaysia to Singapore must test negative in a pre-departure PCR or professionally administered ART, which must be done within two calendar days before departure for Singapore.

The pre-departure test also applies to those travelling from Singapore to Malaysia, along with an on-arrival ART to be taken at Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal.

Children aged two years and below in the calendar year do not need to be tested.

The announcement of the quarantine-free travel between both countries came after nearly 20 months of border restrictions since last March.

Up to 2,880 people will be able to travel each day, with 1,440 travellers in each direction.

Travellers have to be citizens, permanent residents or long-term pass holders (work permit, employment pass, student’s pass or long-term visit pass) of the country that they are entering.

They must also use one of the 64 daily designated VTL bus services, which will run from 7.30am to 9.30pm every day.

Those who walk or drive will still be subject to prevailing border control measures, which currently include a seven-day stay-home notice.

Of the latest change in requirements, an MTI spokesman said: “The on-arrival ART will allow us to reduce the risks of spread of B.1.1.529 to Singapore, and enable us to progressively expand the land VTL in a safe and calibrated manner.”

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