Malaysia Airlines aircraft are parked on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on September 7, 2020.
Mohd Rasfan | AFP | Getty pictures
SINGAPORE – Quarantine-free travel between Singapore and neighboring Malaysia will start on November 29 for vaccinated travelers, the two countries announced on Monday.
Sweden and Finland will also be included in Singapore’s so-called “vaccinated itineraries” from 29 November, the Ministry of Health said separately in a press release on Monday.
Instead of being quarantined, inoculated travelers from these countries will take Covid-19 tests to ensure that they are not infected with the coronavirus.
The Prime Ministers of Singapore and Malaysia said in a joint statement that Covid border restrictions have separated families in both countries for many months.
“It is timely to gradually resume cross-border travel between the two countries, in a safe way,” the two leaders said.
Singapore has already launched vaccinated itineraries with at least 12 nations including Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The city state will begin its joint arrangements for vaccinated itineraries with South Korea on November 15.
“We are also in discussions with our other ASEAN neighbors to reconnect with them, and we will make further announcements when they are 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 itinerary with Malaysia will only operate between Singapore’s Changi Airport and Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Before the pandemic disrupted travel, flight between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur was among the world’s busiest international airlines.
The Southeast Asian countries have two land connections, but travelers crossing these borders will not qualify for quarantine-free travel.
The two nations look forward to restoring travel across land links “in the near future”, the statement said, adding that there is “good progress in ongoing detailed discussions” to reopen land borders.
Singapore has currently allocated a daily quota of 4,000 travelers to accommodate arrivals from the 13 VTL countries including South Korea, Iswaran said.
“We will increase this to 6,000 when we launch VTL to Malaysia, Finland and Sweden,” the minister said, adding that the number will reach “about 8% of the total daily arrivals to Changi before Covid.”
“With the launch of VTL, there has been an encouraging upward trend in passenger traffic. We expect this momentum to continue to increase in the coming months as we expand VTL to more countries and public confidence in air travel recovers,” he said. .