Singapore, Malaysia to Open Vaccinated Travel Lane

The Lion City’s second quarantine-free air corridor with a neighboring country will kick in by the end of this month.

The Kuala Lumpur skyline at sunrise. (Photo: Muhammad Akhir/Unsplash)

Singapore and Malaysia have committed to launching a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between Singapore Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on November 29, allowing fully inoculated travelers to bypass mandatory quarantine at either end. The decision was announced yesterday afternoon in a joint statement by Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

“Given the significant progress that both countries have made in vaccinating their respective populations and managing the Covid-19 pandemic, the Prime Ministers agreed that it is timely to progressively resume cross-border travel between both countries, in a safe manner,” the statement read. Both countries can boast of high vaccination rates: 85 percent of all Singapore residents have been fully inoculated, while just over 75 percent of Malaysia’s total population has received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

The leaders agreed that travel connections across Causeway and the Second Link would be restored “in the near future,” noting the progress being made on detailed discussions to roll out a similar reciprocal arrangement “taking into account the public health situations in Johor and Singapore.”

Singaporean Transport Minister S. Iswaran said at a press conference that the Changi–KLIA air corridor would begin with six designated VTL services per day. Those entering Singapore must present a negative result from a PCR test or professionally administered antigen rapid test conducted no more than 48 hours prior to departure. They will also be required to undergo an on-arrival PCR test at Changi. Applications for the VTL with Malaysia will open on November 22 for short-term visitors and long-term pass holders.

At the same press conference, Iswaran announced that Vaccinated Travel Lanes would also be established with Finland and Sweden on November 29, and that Singapore will increase the quota of daily arrivals under the VTL from 4,000 to 6,000 travelers on that date. The minister then raised the prospect of opening up further quarantine-free corridors in Southeast Asia. “We are also in discussions with our other ASEAN neighbors to reconnect with them and we will make further announcements when ready,” he added.

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