Singapore imposing mandatory ART for those arriving from Malaysia via land VTL

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Singapore imposing mandatory ART for those arriving from Malaysia via land VTL

SINGAPORE — All travellers arriving in Singapore from Malaysia via the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) (Land) route will be required to take an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) upon arrival, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Sunday (28 November).

The new regulation will take effect from 8am on Monday, the start date of the VTL (Land) between the two countries, and comes following recent reports on the “potentially more contagious variant of the COVID-19 virus B.1.1.529”, the said the ministry in a news release.

Dubbed the Omicron variant, MTI said such testing would “allow us reduce the risks of spread of B.1.1.529 to Singapore, and enable us to progressively expand the VTL (Land) in a safe and calibrated manner”.

The on-arrival testing will be conducted at the Woodlands Bus Interchange and Queen Street Terminal, with travellers required to make an e-payment for the ART at the respective testing centre. The cost of the ART was not mentioned in the release.

In a statement on Friday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) designated the Omicron variant as being one “of concern”. It noted received its first report of the variant from South Africa on 24 November, with the first confirmed infection having been detected in a sample obtained on 9 November.

Several countries have since imposed entry restrictions on travellers from countries in Southern Africa. On Friday, Singapore barred entry to long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with a recent travel history to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

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