SINGAPORE - Travel to Batam and Bintan by sea will from April 1 be simplified, with the quota of weekly passengers lifted, no more special designated vaccinated travel lane (VTL) ferries and no more on-arrival tests.
Anyone who is fully vaccinated will need to do only a pre-departure Covid-19 test within two days of taking the ferry to travel quarantine free, said Transport Minister S. Iswaran on Thursday (March 24).
This can be in the form of a polymerase chain reaction test, a professionally administered antigen rapid test (ART) or a self-administered ART that is remotely supervised by an ART provider.
The changes are in line with the simplification of the VTL air links that Mr Iswaran announced on Thursday, as Singapore takes its most major steps yet to treat the coronavirus as endemic.
With the shift, tourists entering Singapore via the sea lanes will no longer have to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass, previously used by the authorities to control the number of people entering Singapore.
They will also no longer need to show proof of a hotel booking confirmation and payment for the duration of their stay, or present a return ferry ticket.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said the simplified travel protocols will apply to any other ferry service routes it grants approval to later.
Those who need a visa to travel to Singapore must still get it and short-term visitors to Singapore must have a minimum travel insurance coverage of $30,000 for Covid-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs.
The VTL lanes with Nongsapura International Ferry Terminal in Batam and Bandar Bintan Telani Ferry Terminal in Bintan began in February, with a quota of 350 travellers weekly to each destination.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.