SINGAPORE - The enhanced testing regime for travellers entering Singapore on vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) will be extended for another four weeks.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement on Friday (Dec 31) that the enhanced scheme, first rolled out for four weeks on Dec 6, has been effective in detecting imported Omicron cases among VTL travellers and reducing onward transmission.
As of Thursday (Dec 30) 912 Omicron imported cases have been detected in Singapore, said MOH. Of these, 685 were detected through the enhanced testing regime for VTL travellers.
Added the ministry: "As such, we will be extending the enhanced testing regime for an additional four weeks and will review it as the situation evolves."
Under the enhanced testing regime, all travellers entering Singapore on VTLs must be tested daily over seven days.
Travellers arriving in Singapore via air VTLs must do a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival, while those entering the country via a land VTL can do a supervised antigen rapid test (ART).
On the second, fourth, fifth and sixth day, they can perform an unsupervised, self-administered ART at their place of residence. They must test negative during this period before going out, and must submit their results online using a link that will be sent to them via their declared contact details after arrival in Singapore.
On the third and seventh day, these travellers will have to go to a combined test centre or quick test centre to do the test under supervision.
The enhanced testing regime was first announced by MOH on Dec 3 for a four-week period from Dec 6 to Jan 2.
MOH also said on Friday (Dec 31) that non-VTL travellers who have to serve a seven- or ten- day stay-home notice at either their place of residence or at a dedicated facility will no longer have to do on-arrival PCR tests from 11.59pm next Friday (Jan 7).
But non-VTL travellers entering Singapore from Hong Kong, Macao, China and Taiwan will still be required to do an on-arrival PCR test as these travellers do not have to serve a stay-home notice.
This requirement for on-arrival tests for non-VTL travellers had been put in place to pick up the Omicron cases early as the variant was new, and more information was needed, said MOH.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.