What Is The Singapore-China ‘Fast Lane’ Travel Agreement?
After a good few months, countries worldwide are slowly starting to ease quarantine restrictions. As Singaporeans rejoice over the start of Phase Two (19th June 2020), on the other side of the island, Changi Airport prepares for the city’s reopening of travel borders.
As of June 8, the Singapore-China ‘fast lane’ agreement has taken effect – whereby business and official travel will be allowed between Singapore and these 6 Chinese provinces: Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.
What is the Singapore-China ‘fast lane’ arrangement?
Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the way we travel was expected to change drastically - and the ‘fast lane’ travel arrangement is another novelty on the list.
As the pandemic situation slows down in several countries, governments worldwide are supporting the creation of ‘travel bubbles’. Through this, officials hope to re-open their borders to countries whereby the Covid-19 situation is now under control.
Also known as reciprocal green lanes, the Singapore-China ‘fast lane’ arrangement is a result of Singapore and China’s decision to restart limited essential travels between both countries, whilst taking into account public health considerations. Similar plans are also being discussed with other countries such as Australia and New Zealand, both of which have since curbed the spread of the virus.
Under this special arrangement, only business and official travellers sponsored by a firm or government agency will be able to make this essential trip without needing to fulfil the otherwise mandatory 14 days quarantine notice.
#CTSGtips: Check out our blog on how Covid-19 could alter the way we travel right here!
There are several steps involved if you wish to obtain approval for this ‘fast lane’ travel application. First, companies and government agencies will have to file for a SafeTravel Pass application on behalf of the potential traveller.
Pre-departure health checks:
Potential travellers will have to take a Covid-19 swab test within 48 hours before their scheduled flight, at their own cost. In Singapore, a Covid-19 swab test can cost up to $200.
Only when the test results are reported negative, will travellers be allowed to board the flight. Additionally, passengers are required to take the necessary travel precautions, such as wearing a mask at all times.
#CTSGtip: Click here to find out more on these popular airlines’ new inflight rules.
Post-arrival health checks:
Upon arrival, travellers will have to present an approved SafeTravel Pass, a negative Covid-19 test result, a valid visa and a return ticket.
A second Covid-19 swab test will also be taken after landing. While waiting for the second test result, travellers will have to stay in isolation at a self-sourced declared accommodation till the result is known.
If the test comes back positive for Covid-19, the traveller will undergo medical treatment at a designated hospital at their own expense.
If not, the traveller can then proceed with his/ her itinerary as planned by their sponsor company or government agency. More importantly, the traveller must strictly follow this declared itinerary for the first 14 days.
Travellers arriving in Singapore must also install the TraceTogether application while travellers arriving in China must use the local health QR code for the duration of their stay.
Does this mean holiday travel will start up soon?
Currently, short-term visitors (that's us, the holiday goers) are still not allowed into Singapore’s borders, with the exception of those travelling under the ‘fast-lane’ arrangement or those with special approval. For now, even as we enter Phase Two, Singaporeans and residents are still advised by the government to defer travel abroad. Hence, it seems like for now, those sandy Bali beaches will have to wait!
In the meantime, do remember to practice social distancing - every effort counts and soon we will be out and about again!