Singapore Suspends Sales Of VTL Tickets Over Omicron Fears

(Source: AP/SCMP)

The Singaporean Ministry of Health has announced today, 22 December that tighter border controls will be implemented amid a surge of the Omicron variant there.

As a result, sales of air and bus tickets under the Vaccinated Travel Scheme (VTL) will be suspended from tomorrow until January 20, affecting over two dozen countries – including Malaysia.

“Our border measures will help to buy us time to study and understand the Omicron variant,” the ministry said per Straits Times.

Travel under the land VTL between Singapore and Malaysia will also be affected. (Source: EPA/New Straits Times)

Transport Minister S. Iswaran however clarified that passengers who have already bought tickets to travel during that period will still be allowed in.

“I would like to assure those who already hold VTL flight tickets and meet all requirements under the VTLs: you can still continue to travel to Singapore without quarantine, under the VTL scheme,” he wrote on Facebook.

It was also announced airport workers will be equipped with “enhanced Personal Protective Equipment”, while also being subjected to a “heightened testing regime” to minimise infections.

Travellers and staff walking at Changi Airport Terminal 1. (Source: Calvin Oh/CNA)

This move comes as Singapore recorded a total of 71 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 variant, with a vast majority of them being imported cases (65).

For comparison, Malaysia has recorded a total of 13 cases of Omicron as of last weekend, reported New Straits Times.

The VTL between Malaysia and Singapore had begun on 29 November for specific categories of travellers, before being expanded to all citizens on 20 December.