SINGAPORE – Travellers planning to enter China from Singapore now need to submit only a negative result from an antigen rapid test (ART) instead of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
The ART can be performed at home, but must be done within 48 hours before boarding a China-bound flight, said the Chinese Embassy in Singapore in a statement on Wednesday.
Upon getting their ART results, travellers will have to fill in a health declaration form on the China Customs mobile application.
Alternatively, they can do so online at htdecl.chinaport.gov.cn or via a specific WeChat program for China Customs.
Meanwhile, Chinese airlines will no longer check if passengers test negative for Covid-19, the statement said, although travellers could face random inspections once they have landed in China.
“If there are abnormalities in your health declaration, or you are showing symptoms, such as a fever, you are required to take a test by China Customs,” it added.
Travellers who test positive for Covid-19 will be directed to self-quarantine or seek medical treatment, depending on the recommendations dispensed by the local authorities.
The latest move comes amid China’s progressive rollback of Covid-19 restrictions for international travellers.
On Jan 8, China announced the end of mandatory quarantine for all inbound travellers – almost three years after it first shut its borders to curb the spread of Covid-19 in March 2020.
Its pandemic response initially saw inbound travellers undergo 14 days of isolation at a designated hotel, followed by another seven days of health monitoring at home.
But in June 2022, the number of days were reduced to seven and three respectively, before a further reduction to only five days of isolation at a designated location. The number of days confined at home remained unchanged.
In November, that year the Chinese government also relaxed its requirements on PCR testing for travellers to the country – only one pre-departure PCR test was required instead of two.
As restrictions ease, the number of flights from Singapore to China has also been increasing, with Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) budget arm Scoot planning to progressively restore China flights to more than half of pre-pandemic levels by June.
It currently operates 14 flights each week, a far cry from the 107 before the pandemic. But it hopes to increase that number to 57 by June.
SIA will be ramping up its weekly flights to China, with seven weekly flights each to Beijing and Guangzhou starting in March, up from three to each destination. It will also progressively operate 14 flights to Shanghai every week, up from four.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.