Singapore introduces more ‘vaccinated travel lanes’ to include Malaysia, Sweden and Finland

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Malaysia Airlines aircraft are parked on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on September 7, 2020.

Mohd Rasfan | AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Quarantine-free travel between Singapore and neighboring Malaysia will start from Nov. 29 for vaccinated travelers, the two countries announced Monday.

Sweden and Finland will also be included in Singapore’s so-called “vaccinated travel lanes” from Nov. 29, the health ministry said separately in a press release Monday.

Instead of serving quarantines, inoculated travelers from these countries will take Covid-19 tests to ensure they are not infected with the coronavirus.

Singapore and Malaysia’s prime ministers said in a joint statement that Covid border restrictions have separated families in both countries for many months.

“It is timely to progressively resume cross-border travel between both countries, in a safe manner,” the two leaders said.

Singapore has already launched vaccinated travel lanes with at least 12 nations including Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The city-state will start its joint vaccinated travel lane arrangements with South Korea on Nov. 15.

“We are also in discussions with our other ASEAN neighbors to reconnect with them, and we will make further announcements when ready,” Transport Minister S. Iswaran told reporters on Monday during a virtual briefing. “We are also in discussions with our partners in the Middle East and Asia Pacific.”

The travel lane with Malaysia will operate only between Singapore’s Changi Airport and Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Before the pandemic disrupted travel, the air route between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur was among the world’s busiest international air routes.

The Southeast Asian countries have two land links, but travelers crossing these borders will not qualify for quarantine-free travel.

The two nations are looking forward to restoring travel across the land links “in the near future,” the statement said, adding that there is “good progress in ongoing detailed discussions” to reopen the land borders.

Singapore has currently allocated a daily quota of 4,000 travelers to cater to arrivals from the 13 VTL countries including South Korea, Iswaran said.

“We will increase this to 6,000 when we launch the VTL to Malaysia, Finland and Sweden,” the minister said, adding that the number comes up to “about 8% of the total daily arrivals at Changi pre-Covid.”

“With the launch of the VTLs, there has been an encouraging upward momentum in passenger traffic. We expect this momentum to continue to rise in the coming months as we extend the VTL to more countries and public confidence in air travel recovers,” he said.

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