Singapore has welcomed first flights from an expanded quarantine-free travel scheme that allows international visitors from 10 countries to enter without having to quarantine.
The sovereign state has operated its Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme since 8 October for arrivals from Germany and Brunei but announced last week that the scheme would be extended to include visitors from the UK, US, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. All except Brunei have a reciprocal program in place whereby Singapore residents can also enter without quarantine.
The first two flights from the expanded scheme landed at Singapore’s Changi Airport on Wednesday from the UK and Netherlands respectively and carrying a combined 250 passengers, according to The Straits Times.
Their arrival represents a significant step forward in Singapore’s efforts to transition to living with COVID-19, having started easing restrictions for its own citizens in September after reaching the 80% community vaccination milestone.
Authorities will also add South Korea to the VTL next month and is in discussions with a number of other countries, including Australia.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said the ongoing expansion of the VTL was being conducted “in a cautious and step-by-step manner [to] reclaim and rebuild our status as an international aviation hub with global connectivity.”