Some UK travellers face hurdles entering Singapore under VTL scheme

SINGAPORE: Some travellers from the United Kingdom are dealing with difficulties entering Singapore under its vaccinated journey lane (VTL) scheme attributable to sure gaps within the system.

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The VTL scheme, which permits quarantine-free journey to Singapore, was expanded to the UK in early October. Travellers should fulfil sure situations, comparable to being totally vaccinated if they’re above 12 years outdated and having an formally recognised proof of vaccination.

However, these aged 13 to fifteen are unable to acquire vaccinated journey passes (VTPs) to enter Singapore as a result of they don’t have a National Health Service (NHS) COVID Pass proving one’s vaccination standing. The UK authorities solely points these to folks aged 16 and above.

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Such is the conundrum for Ms Helen Koh’s household – particularly, her niece, 15, and nephew, 13, each of whom are long-term move holders trying to return to Singapore to reunite with their father after spending two years aside.

“They are fully vaccinated (with both doses of Pfizer-BioNTech). You’re just wanting, insisting on a pass that’s not available in their own country, so we don’t know what to do,” mentioned Ms Koh, 48.

“If (authorities need to) solely recognise NHS COVID Pass from the UK as a legit platform to confirm or certify vaccination standing, it’s no drawback … But they need to perceive the place is the protection,” she mentioned. 

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Ms Koh added that the scenario is paradoxical as a result of unvaccinated kids aged under 12 are allowed to board these VTL flights.

“Why penalise the children between 13 to 15 who are vaccinated? We don’t see the logic.”

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Describing her back-and-forth correspondence with authorities, Ms Koh added that the household supplied vaccine data for the youngsters, however these weren’t acknowledged.

“They have the doctor or the vaccine provider endorsing it on a full medical record … but we were told that ‘Oh, sorry, because they cannot get the pass, they are not eligible for the VTL.'”

In an electronic mail from the Civil and Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to Ms Koh seen by CNA, the company mentioned it famous the challenges confronted in acquiring the move for this group of travellers.

“However, we also seek your understanding that the requirement to produce proof of vaccination that we can authenticate and verify safeguards the VTL and public health,” mentioned the e-mail.

It added that authorities are “constantly working to onboard more issuers”, and steered they contact the UK authorities who concern the certificates or think about taking non-VTL flights.

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Non-VTL flights usually are not an possibility for the youngsters, as these will entail a seven-day quarantine that may eat considerably into their two-and-a-half-week college vacation, mentioned Ms Koh.

As their vacation break attracts nearer, Ms Koh mentioned: “We were very excited (when we first heard the VTL news)… but now, everybody in the family, we are all losing sleep.”

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