Remarks by Minister For Transport Mr S Iswaran on Reopening to Vaccinated Travel at MTF Press Conference on 24 March 2022

24 Mar 2022Speeches

1.     Good morning and thank you for joining us. To echo our PM, we are at a major milestone in our journey towards living with COVID-19. And we are now taking a decisive step to reopen our borders and reconnect with the world.    

2.     I have previously spoken on our plans to reopen our borders in two phases. 

3.     In the first phase, since September 2021, we have launched Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) with specific countries and regions. 

a.     To date, we have 32 VTLs by air, and VTLs by sea with Batam and Bintan. 

b.     Passenger traffic at Changi has continued to grow steadily, reaching 18.2% of pre-COVID levels last week – the highest since we closed our borders in March 2020.

c.     Nearly 600,000 travellers have entered Singapore or returned home using our air and sea VTLs. 

4.     In the second phase of our reopening, we will shift from Vaccinated Travel Lanes to the Vaccinated Travel Framework.  

Shifting to the Vaccinated Travel Framework

5.     The Ministry of Health has streamlined the country/region classification into two categories, General Travel or Restricted. This framework will be the new baseline setting. 

6.     From 1 April 2022, all fully vaccinated travellers from any country or region will be allowed to enter Singapore quarantine-free, provided that they have not been in countries or regions on the Restricted list in the preceding seven days.  We have no countries on the Restricted list at present. 

7.     Along with this shift, we will streamline our processes to make travel more convenient.   

8.     First, we will remove the need for short-term visitors to apply for entry approval. In other words, fully vaccinated visitors will not need to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass before entering Singapore. 

9.     Second, we will no longer have designated VTL flights or ferries.  Fully vaccinated travellers can take any flight or ferry to Singapore to be accorded quarantine-free treatment upon arrival.  

10.    Third, we will ease testing requirements. 

a.      Fully vaccinated travellers will not be required to take an on-arrival test. 

b.      However, for now, those arriving by air and sea will still need to submit a negative pre-departure test (PDT) result taken within two days of departure for Singapore. 

c.      As explained by the Minister for Health, this is a precautionary measure as COVID-19 cases are rising in some parts of the world. 

d.     We will review this requirement in two to four weeks by mid-April, taking into account the prevailing public health assessment.      

11.    Fourth, we will simplify the SG Arrival Card (SGAC) which all travellers are required to complete.  

12.    CAAS and MPA will release more details. 

Supporting the transition and maintaining our safeguards

13.   MOT has also been working with our aviation and maritime partners on operational adjustments at our airport and ferry terminals to prepare for this shift to the Vaccinated Travel Framework. 

a.     With the discontinuation of designated VTL flights and quotas, airlines can simply submit their plans to CAAS and operate flights as they used to pre-COVID.

b.     Air crew can also resume normal activities in Singapore or overseas, and will be subject to similar testing requirements as vaccinated travellers.

c.     Airport workers will only need to put on surgical masks, except for those in higher-risk roles who will be required to wear a face shield and gloves. They will also no longer be subject to Rostered Routine Testing (RRT). 

d.     We have stopped the segregation of the airport into zones. Henceforth, all travellers arriving from countries and regions in the General Travel list can move about freely in the transit areas.

e.     Changi Airport Group is also progressively reopening the retail and F&B outlets in the transit areas.  

f.      With these moves, our aim is to welcome airlines back to serve Singapore and the region, raise passenger volumes to at least 50% of pre-COVID levels this year, and restore the traveller experience that Changi is renowned for.   

14.     As we press on with our reopening and move to the Vaccinated Travel Framework, I wish to highlight two important aspects of this transition.    

a.      First, our airport community is gearing up for higher traveller volumes by ramping up recruitment and recalling their experienced workers. This will take some time given the scale and challenges.  

b.      Second, we must be prepared to quickly re-establish the public health protocols if the COVID-19 situation changes suddenly, as it has in the past. We must, as it were, preserve the muscle memory in our system, by ensuring that we preserve our capacity to process passengers from Restricted list countries/ regions at dedicated areas in the airport, and to quickly stand up on-arrival testing and other public health measures at the airport and ferry terminals.


15.    In this transition to the Vaccinated Travel Framework, MOT is working closely with other ministries, government agencies and our aviation community partners to ensure a safe and seamless travel experience for all travellers to Singapore, while safeguarding public health amidst the evolving COVID-19 situation.   

16.    We seek the support and cooperation of Singaporeans, frontline workers and visitors for these efforts and measures, which will help secure tens of thousands of livelihoods and the competitiveness of our economy which depend on our air hub.  

17.    This shift to the Vaccinated Travel Framework is a decisive step for Singapore and an important signal to the world – that Singapore has fully reopened its borders, that we are reconnecting with the world, and reclaiming Changi’s status as an international aviation hub.  

18.    Thank you.


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