Amid concerns over a surge in Omicron variant of coronavirus, Singapore on Wednesday said it will freeze new ticket sales for flights and buses under its programme for quarantine-free travel into the city-state from December 23 to January 20.
Under the vaccinated travel lane programme, Singapore allows quarantine-free entry from some countries to fully vaccinated travellers, who also have to do regular testing. “With effect from 22 December 2021, 2359hrs (SGT), there will be no new ticket sales for designated VTL (Air) flights for entry into Singapore from all VTL countries until 20 January 2022, 2359hrs (SGT),” Immigration and Checkpoints Authority announced.
Travellers who have booked a ticket on a VTL (Air) flight before December 22 will continue to be allowed to enter Singapore, provided they meet all VTL (Air) conditions.
Travellers entering Singapore under the VTL scheme do not have to serve a stay-home notice. Instead, they have to test negative for COVID-19 two days prior to departure for Singapore, as well as upon arrival.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) announced the VTL expansion on November 15.
Singapore has set up these lanes for about two dozen countries, including Australia, India, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Reacting to the new rules, Indian carriers said that they will have to amend their schedule in order to comply with the guidelines.
To comply with the guidelines we will have to make changes to our schedule, they stated.
Air India and Vistara are two Indian airlines that operate commercial passenger flights between Singapore and India.
Early this month, India had removed Singapore from its list of “at-risk” nations and travellers arriving from there need not take additional measures on arrival including post-arrival testing for Covid-19 especially the new Omicron variant.
India also announced that it will keep its ban on scheduled international passenger flights till January 31 in the wake of the emerging threat from the Omicron variant. According to the Union Health Ministry, 213 cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus have been reported in the country so far.
India had suspended international flights from March 23, 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
However, special international passenger flights have been operating since July last year under air bubble arrangements formed with approximately 28 countries.