APAC charts return to international travel

Singapore confirms quarantine-free lanes with 11 destinations, while Malaysia, Thailand and Australia outline similar plans. 

Under Singapore's VTL arrangement, multi-city itineraries are allowed if travellers meet the 14-day travel history requirement, which includes transit countries.
Under Singapore's VTL arrangement, multi-city itineraries are allowed if travellers meet the 14-day travel history requirement, which includes transit countries. Photo Credit:Getty Images/leungchopan, SeanPavonePhoto, spyarm, Olena_Z

In the course of a week, Singapore added nine countries to its rapidly growing Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) list, which allows quarantine-free travel both in and out of the country.

From 19 October, fully vaccinated travellers will be able to fly to Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain and the United States on the VTL scheme — joining existing VTL arrangements with Brunei and Germany.

South Korea will join the scheme from 15 November, bringing the total number of VTL destinations to 14 before Christmas — Brunei, Rome, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Milan, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Amsterdam, Seoul, London, New York and Los Angeles.

Travel into Singapore will also be easier, with the number of Covid-19 swab tests cut from four to two: once at pre-departure, and again upon at Changi Airport. These Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests will be in lieu of serving quarantine or Stay-Home Notice.

The moves comes following the month-long VTL agreement with Brunei and Germany since 8 September, that saw 1,926 inbound traveller and with just two imported cases of Covid-19 — both detected upon arrival.

VTL requirements are as follows:

  • A pre-departure test within 48 hours of the scheduled departure flight
  • An on-arrival PCR test at the airport and self-isolate until negative test result is obtained
  • Travellers must have remained in one or more of the VTL countries in the last 14 consecutive days prior to departure
  • Travellers must have been fully vaccinated in their country of departure (14 days after receiving the second vaccine dose)
  • They will also need to have remained in the VTL country of visitation (e.g Germany, Rome) for 14 consecutive days before departure
  • Travellers must fly on non-stop designated VTL flights to agreed VTL destinations
  • Singapore and the Republic of Korea have agreed to mutually recognise Covid-19 vaccination certificates.


Regarding multi-destination itineraries, a statement by Singapore Airlines on 9 October indicated that this is possible if travellers meet the 14-day travel history requirement, which includes transit countries.

More details are expected to be announced in coming weeks. Travellers have been advised to refer to Lufthansa, Royal Brunei, Scoot and Singapore Airlines’ websites for details of these designated VTL flights.

From 1 November, Thailand will waive its mandatory quarantine requirement in capital Bangkok, which has so far vaccinated 50% of its population.
From 1 November, Thailand will waive its mandatory quarantine requirement in capital Bangkok, which has so far vaccinated 50% of its population. Photo Credit: Unsplash/Robert Eklund

More APAC destinations reopen borders

Meanwhile, the doors are also opening in Thailand. Since 1 October, fully vaccinated visitors serve a 7-day quarantine instead of 14 days, or 10 days for those who are not fully inoculated.

From 1 November, Thailand will also waive its mandatory quarantine requirement in Bangkok and nine regions, including Chiang Mai, Cha-am, Hua Hin, Krabi, Pattaya and Phangnga, following success sandbox schemes in Phuket and Koh Samui since July.

Most recently during a 11 October televised address, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced fully vaccinated travellers from some 10 countries, including Singapore, China, UK and US, can enter the Kingdom without quarantine following two PCR tests.

In Malaysia, the government has followed through with an earlier statement to reopen once 90% of its adult population has been fully vaccinated.

Interstate and overseas travel resumed from 11 October, although returning travellers to Malaysia will still have to serve a 14-day quarantine.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob also stated in a national broadcast on 10 October that the progressive easing of restrictions will not be reversed should infections spike once more, if the country abides by the SOPs.

Over Down Under, Australia's international borders could reopen as soon as 1 November, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on 11 October a fast-tracked reopening plan, while also lifting an 18-month ban on Australians travelling abroad next month.



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