Vaccinated Travel Lanes: An Endemic Approach
Tan Jia Hao speaks to Ms Novita Lam and Mr Shawn Lee about their experiences travelling via the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL).
Singaporeans pictured in parts of Germany as they travel for the first time in almost two years. Photo courtesy of Ms Novita Lam and Mr Shawn Lee.
Tan Jia Hao
Hype Issue #54
November 20, 2021
Singaporeans can now travel to Brunei, Germany, South Korea, Switzerland, Australia, France, Denmark, Italy, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Spain, United States and Canada via the VTL.
This initiative will allow quarantine-free travel for vaccinated Singaporeans. “It’s been a while since we could travel without having to quarantine hence I jumped on the opportunity once we could,” said Ms Novita Lam, a Singaporean influencer in her late twenties who travelled to Germany via the VTL.
“I felt quite safe because in Germany, people are generally quite spaced out and somewhat adhere to a safe distance of 1.5 metres. We also have to wear face masks when indoors so this reduces the spread of the virus,” said Ms Lam.
Singapore is still struggling with rising Covid-19 infections. As of November 2021, the cases in Singapore have surpassed 200,000 with 500 deaths.
With uncertainty surrounding this pandemic’s end, Singapore is shifting to an endemic approach towards dealing with the virus to maintain its status as a global business hub. The government has since introduced new ways of reporting cases to the public and has opened up its borders to 16 countries.
With Singapore opening up to more countries via the Vaccinated Travel Lane, what should one expect when travelling abroad? In most countries, you would have to take two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests before departure and on arrival at Changi Airport.
“The process is very simple, especially in Europe. I will recommend to keep a look out of the notice of changes that do happen once in a while. Always have a simple checklist when coming back, you can refer to the Changi Airport checklist on their website, once you follow, it is easy,” said Mr Shawn Lee, a Singaporean director in his forties. Mr Lee travelled to various parts of Europe via the VTL.
Travellers should also note longer wait times of up to two hours upon returning to Singapore.
“The only hassle I can think of is probably the longer time required to complete the entire PCR testing process before I could go home upon arrival from Germany. Prior to the pandemic, we could go out after collecting our luggage, but now there’s about one to two hours added to the entire process,” said Ms Lam.
Despite the additional measures, both Ms Lam and Mr Lee are eager to visit more countries. “Yes, I will [travel via the VTL] again for sure! I am planning [to go to] either France or Spain,” said Mr Lee.