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Fully jabbed travellers to Singapore to qualify for differentiated vaccination measures


SINGAPORE - Travellers to the Republic who have been fully inoculated with a vaccine under the World Health Organisations (WHO) Emergency Use Listing (EUL) will also be eligible for vaccination-differentiated safe management measures in Singapore.

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The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Thursday (Aug 19) that from 11.59pm on Friday, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will start issuing tamper-proof stickers to arrivals who have been fully inoculated with a vaccine under the WHO EUL.

These include Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty and Moderna - used in Singapore's national vaccination programme - as well as the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm, Sinovac and Covishield vaccines.

To obtain the stickers to affix to their passports, travellers must produce an English-language vaccination certificate to ICA officers upon arriving at Singapore's immigration checkpoints.

Previously, only Singapore citizens, permanent residents (PRs) and long-term pass holders with vaccination records in the National Immunisation Registry were eligible for these vaccination-differentiated safe management measures.

MOH added that by September, IT systems will be enhanced so that vaccinated travellers - including citizens, PRs, long-term pass holders and short-term visit pass holders from all countries - will also be recognised by the SafeEntry Business app through their TraceTogether apps or tokens.

This will make them eligible for differentiated measures in Singapore such as dining in without needing to go through pre-event testing (PET).

All other incoming travellers will have to obtain a negative PET by an MOH-approved test provider. This will be valid for 24 hours.

These differentiated measures, first announced on Aug 6, include allowing the fully vaccinated to dine in groups of up to five at food and beverage establishments.

On Thursday, the Government also announced a new Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL).

It will allow fully vaccinated persons to travel to Singapore under reduced border measures - such as multiple polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests pre-departure, on-arrival and during their stay in Singapore - instead of having to serve a stay-home notice.

Pilot arrangements will kick off with Brunei and Germany.

At a press conference by the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung shared that as at Aug 17, 77 per cent of the population have completed the full vaccination regimen with 82 per cent receiving at least one dose.

"That is quite significant - which means some time in September, we will have 82 per cent of our population fully vaccinated," he said, adding that this indicated a "remarkable" near-90 per cent of the eligible population being fully vaccinated.

By early September, 89 per cent of seniors aged 60 and above would have received two vaccine doses as well, said Mr Ong.

In a release, MOH stressed that there was clear evidence of vaccination significantly reducing severe illnesses and deaths.

It noted that among infected cases, almost 9 per cent of the unvaccinated required intensive care or oxygen supplementation, compared with 1.3 per cent for the vaccinated.

Around 1 per cent of the unvaccinated also died, in contrast with 0.1 per cent of the vaccinated.

Published : August 20, 2021

By : Justin Ong/The Straits Times/ANN