Pandemic travel restrictions have resulted in limited passages between Malaysia and Singapore, and also to other countries. Lockdown measures have stretched on since the first travel curbs kicked in last March, and because of this, many families and couples have been separated for a long time. However, things may soon change, as Malaysia’s Minister of Health, Khairy Jamaluddin, in a Twitter post mentioned that Malaysia and Singapore are looking at easing travel restrictions.
After meeting his Singapore counterpart, Ong Ye Kung, during a transit at Changi International Airport while en route to the World Health Organization regional meeting in Japan, he said both sides are working to finalise more open and convenient travel arrangements and hopes to announce it soon.
As part of their regular evaluation of COVID-19, Singapore upgraded Malaysia to Category III from Category IV on Saturday (23 October). This means all travellers from Malaysia can serve their 10-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at their declared place of residence or accommodation in Singapore from 27 October.
According to the republic’s Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) on COVID-19, this was regardless of the visitors’ and their family members’ vaccination status and travel history.
Malaysia, Cambodia, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Mongolia, Qatar, Rwanda, Samoa, Seychelles, South Africa, Tonga, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam will all be classified as Category III countries.
In August of this year, Singapore began dividing nations or areas into four groups based on their vaccination rates, laying the groundwork for the government to implement vaccination-differentiated border checks for travellers.
Travellers living with unvaccinated home members were strongly advised to serve their SHN in isolation in a room and avoid contact with their vulnerable household members.
During the SHN, Category III travellers were no longer obliged to do an extra Antigen Rapid Test on the third and seventh days after their arrival. Travellers who arrive after 22 October are included in this category.
All travellers from Category III countries will no longer be required to take an on-arrival Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, instead opting for an exit PCR test at the conclusion of SHN.
Long-Term Pass Holders (LTPH) holding Ministry of Manpower passes, on the other hand, may be subject to additional restrictions and measures. Travellers who are not Singapore citizens, permanent residents, or LTPH are only permitted to enter Singapore for short-term trips if they are travelling from Category I countries, unless further arrangements, such as Vaccinated Travel Lanes or Reciprocal Green Lanes, have been made separately.