Singapore plans to suspend sales of quarantine-free tickets

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December 23, 2021: On Wednesday, Singapore will freeze new ticket sales for quarantine-free travel to limit exposure to imported omicron cases, the health ministry said in a statement.

The suspension, which started on Thursday and ran through January 20, applies to flights and buses into the city-state.

Travelers who have booked tickets under Singapore’s vaccinated travel lane arrangements will still be able to enter the country without serving quarantines.

“Our border measures will help to buy us time to study and understand the Omicron variant and to strengthen our defenses, which help enhance our healthcare capacity and get people vaccinated and boosted,” the health ministry said.

Singapore has so far detected 65 imported omicron cases. As of Monday, the health ministry said there were six local omicron cases in the country.

According to health ministry data, a

bout 96% of Singapore’s eligible population is fully vaccinated, or about 87% of the total population. More than a third of the total population (34%) has received a booster. Shots for children between 5 and 11 years old are approved and will begin Monday.

According to the press release, when the ticket sale suspension ends on January 20, the number of people allowed to visit Singapore without serving quarantines will temporarily decrease.

The health ministry said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and the Ministry of Trade and Industry would provide more details on vaccinated travel lanes via air and land, respectively.

Travelers who come behind Singapore under quarantine-free arrangements have to take a PCR test on arrival and antigen rapid tests for the first seven days in the country.

Singapore’s vaccinated travel lane program was vital in the country’s pivot to a “living with Covid” strategy, reopening borders while keeping specific anti-virus measures in place. Freezing ticket sales for this arrangement appears to be the biggest yet scale back of that effort.

Since omicron is emerging, the government has tightened testing measures for travelers and delayed the launch of quarantine-free travel lanes with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Singapore has restricted travel from Africa, including South Africa, which first detected

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Singapore plans to suspend sales of quarantine-free tickets