Singapore Requiring Travelers To Take Daily COVID-19 Test

Singapore Requiring Travelers To Take Daily COVID-19 Test

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It has been interesting to watch Singapore’ tourism reopening. The country at first took a zero tolerance approach towards coronavirus, and kept its borders mostly closed. However, with the country having achieved a high vaccination rate, borders have reopened as part of the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) concept. While this continues to be available, some major restrictions have just been added.

Singapore’s new coronavirus testing requirement

When Singapore’s vaccinated travel plane concept launched, the idea was that travelers could visit quarantine-free with a basic testing requirement. Specifically, travelers needed to get a pre-departure PCR test within 48 hours of departure to Singapore, plus a further test upon arrival in Singapore.

With fears of a new coronavirus variant, Singapore is greatly increasing its testing requirement for travelers. Those arriving as part of the VTL concept now need to take the following additional tests:

  • As of December 2, 2021, Singapore is requiring supervised rapid antigen tests on the third and seventh day after arrival in Singapore
  • As of December 6, 2021, Singapore is requiring self-administered rapid antigen tests on the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth day after arrival in Singapore

In other words, if you spent a week in Singapore, you’d need to get tested a total of eight times, not accounting for any testing required for departing the country, based on your destination after Singapore.

Singapore is increasing its testing requirement for travelers

My take on Singapore’s new testing requirement

On the one hand, I commend Singapore for keeping its borders open and sticking to the VTL concept, despite the new variant (other countries are taking a more panicked approach). On the other hand, having to take a daily coronavirus test while on vacation doesn’t sound particularly fun.

Personally my feelings about Singapore’s VTL concept haven’t changed because of this announcement:

  • The VTL concept seems most useful for those who have a specific reason to travel to Singapore, whether it’s to visit family or close friends, or conduct business
  • While I love visiting Singapore, personally I wouldn’t travel halfway around the world in order to just visit a city, without combining it with a trip to a nearby country for a nice city and beach holiday
  • I imagine this new daily testing requirement will dissuade some tourists who might have otherwise been on the fence about a trip to Singapore, but that’s about it
Travelers to Singapore will need to take up to eight tests

Bottom line

Singapore is increasing its testing requirement for those traveling as part of the vaccinated travel lane concept. In addition to the pre-travel and on arrival test requirement, travelers also need to get tested in person on days three and seven, and need to self-test on days two, four, five, and six.

Would this new testing requirement change whether or not you’d choose to travel to Singapore?

Conversations (20)
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  1. Robert Schrader Guest

    These new requirements are patently absurd, and further diminish the already minuscule value proposition of visiting Singapore under the VTL scheme. So naturally, the Branch Covidians in the OMAAT comments section are praising it to high heaven.

  2. Another Lump Guest

    Every single measure that every government has taken has resulted in zero benefit with devastating cost. Sadly world politicians have learned that the appearance of "doing something" while never actually achieving anything, or even making any sense whatsoever, is accepted by the gullible and fearful masses.

    In case you didn't know, each subsequent variant has been more contagious but less lethal. This is how viruses survive. But that's not a very scary story, so it's...

    Every single measure that every government has taken has resulted in zero benefit with devastating cost. Sadly world politicians have learned that the appearance of "doing something" while never actually achieving anything, or even making any sense whatsoever, is accepted by the gullible and fearful masses.

    In case you didn't know, each subsequent variant has been more contagious but less lethal. This is how viruses survive. But that's not a very scary story, so it's more fear, panic, restrictions, and power grabs by those in power, their enablers in the media, and the crony capitalists cleaning up on everyone's misery.

  3. KS Guest

    Insane

    That travel writers don't call out governments for these ridiculous, utterly non-scientific policies, reflects badly on the travel press.

    There is a certain "false positive" rate for any test and if you ask someone to do a test often enough, you will create them.

  4. Inuit Guest

    Eskimo: Hong Kong, Macao, China and Taiwan have successfully ”stopped” the virus with a zero-covid strategy.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      You mean Greater China, or what is China.

      Which still have reports of new cases, not zero. Not to mention any cover ups.

  5. Eskimo Guest

    Another draconian measure from an authoritarian regime.

    Can't see any country successfully stop the virus even with zero tolerance policy.

    Leisure an not important business travelers should still avoid Singapore.
    They don't even accept the CDC vaccination card.

  6. MH Guest

    VTL flights for the upcoming holidays are already largely sold out, especially those from the US. There’s clearly more demand than there are seats for the scheme and the self tests shouldn’t add too much of a burden. The in-person and pre-departure to Singapore tests continue to be ART, not PCR, at a cost of $15 SGD (~$11 USD) each. Compared to HK, Singapore looks downright reasonable in striking a balance between staying open for...

    VTL flights for the upcoming holidays are already largely sold out, especially those from the US. There’s clearly more demand than there are seats for the scheme and the self tests shouldn’t add too much of a burden. The in-person and pre-departure to Singapore tests continue to be ART, not PCR, at a cost of $15 SGD (~$11 USD) each. Compared to HK, Singapore looks downright reasonable in striking a balance between staying open for those who have real, valid reasons to travel and managing future waves of Covid.

  7. Ed Guest

    I’m booked for invasion day week, best place between Melbourne and london to meet my family. I’m happy to jump through whatever hoops to see family, eat chilli crab and curry laksa

  8. NYGuy24 Gold

    Singapore going through wave after wave of covid. If you don't like all the testing then how about just going into quarantine like some other countries. Better? I doubt many are travelling to singapore as a main destination. I usually just spend a day or two there when transiting to and from other countries.

  9. Jerry Diamond

    Any clue what a week's worth of tests would cost?

    1. Gwen Guest

      Self administered test kits go for less than USD 5/ kit.

      While the supervised rapid antigen test at specific centers (for day 3 and day 7) cost usd 11.

      I personally prefer that that having the quarantine or self isolation crap. It's similar to my family in Germany doing the same on their own accord , if they have to attend some social gathering or visiting their old relatives.

      To get back to...

      Self administered test kits go for less than USD 5/ kit.

      While the supervised rapid antigen test at specific centers (for day 3 and day 7) cost usd 11.

      I personally prefer that that having the quarantine or self isolation crap. It's similar to my family in Germany doing the same on their own accord , if they have to attend some social gathering or visiting their old relatives.

      To get back to pre covid without any testing, it's probably not gonna happen til another year at least.

    2. Peking Duck Guest

      You can get the self tests for around $5. I'm headed to Singapore on the 24th so I'll get a chance to try it out.

  10. Alan Gold

    Singapore's most recent wave has been their worst since the pandemic began with record numbers of cases and deaths in spite of 80 percent being fully vaccinated. I can completely understand why they would require daily testing; it is rather surprising that they have not simply started quarantining incoming travelers. Fortunately this wave is subsiding in Singapore just as South Korea now faces the same problem.

  11. Will Guest

    Just great stuff all around, 2 years in- I’m sure this time it will work

  12. Never In Doubt Guest

    This, like many other countries, is a “residents and essential business travel” opening, not a “tourists” opening.

  13. Glenn Guest

    Whole annoying, the self administered rapid tests aren’t really a big deal. They take 15 min and you could probably do it in the morning as you wake up. To me, this is better than Singapore closing again altogether.

  14. Endre Guest

    I used to fly to Singapore once a month mostly with Cathay, JAL in First class (paid ticket only, no points tricks).
    Nowadays, these never ending restrictions and test requirements make visiting Singapore for business far less attractive.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Endre, Welcome back!

      I’d wondered where your non-sequitur boasting had gone. Good to know you’re still out there boasting.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Peking Duck Guest

You can get the self tests for around $5. I'm headed to Singapore on the 24th so I'll get a chance to try it out.

2
Gwen Guest

Self administered test kits go for less than USD 5/ kit. While the supervised rapid antigen test at specific centers (for day 3 and day 7) cost usd 11. I personally prefer that that having the quarantine or self isolation crap. It's similar to my family in Germany doing the same on their own accord , if they have to attend some social gathering or visiting their old relatives. To get back to pre covid without any testing, it's probably not gonna happen til another year at least.

2
MH Guest

VTL flights for the upcoming holidays are already largely sold out, especially those from the US. There’s clearly more demand than there are seats for the scheme and the self tests shouldn’t add too much of a burden. The in-person and pre-departure to Singapore tests continue to be ART, not PCR, at a cost of $15 SGD (~$11 USD) each. Compared to HK, Singapore looks downright reasonable in striking a balance between staying open for those who have real, valid reasons to travel and managing future waves of Covid.

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