Ticket sales for both the air and land Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) will be temporarily suspended following worries of the COVID-19 Omicron variant spreading, according to the Ministry of Health. The freeze will last from 23 December 2021 until 20 January 2022, after which, the sale quota will be reduced.
Those who have already bought VTL tickets will still be able to travel as long as they meet the existing requirements. The VTL allows travellers to go through designated flights and bus routes to travel between the two countries without going through quarantine, though there are now more stringent testing requirements in place.
Following tighter restrictions, those arriving via VTL will need to undergo daily testing for six days, alternating between self-test kits and professionally-administered tests. This is in addition to the mandatory on-arrival PCR tests, as well as the pre-departure PCR tests required to be taken within 48 hours before travel.
Singapore has seen significant Omicron spread in spite of the country’s high vaccination rate, with 65 imported cases and six local cases. Meanwhile, Malaysia has detected a total of 13 imported Omicron infections as of last weekend, with no known local cases just yet.
As a pre-emptive measure following the detection of the second imported case, the government is banning large scale New Year and Christmas celebrations, as well as making self-testing mandatory for private gatherings. Booster shots will also be mandatory for Sinovac recipients and senior citizens to retain their fully vaccinated status.