Unlocking the World

Travel to Singapore during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN staffUpdated 20th January 2021
Enjoy the tradition of the hawker stalls paired with the modern architecture in Singapore.
Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on January 20.
(CNN) — If you're planning a trip to Singapore, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the global coronavirus pandemic.

The basics

Singapore has done a superb job of minimizing Covid-19. Its lockdown measures ended in June and it has since implemented strict controls to limit the spread of the virus. Most foreign travelers are not permitted entry.

What's on offer

The quintessential modern Asian city, Singapore's glittering skyscrapers and waterside setting make it easy to love. Throw in some of the world's best street food, served in its ubiquitous hawker centers, and the lush rainforest of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, and the city-state has more than enough to satisfy fascinated tourists.

Who can go

Currently, entry is largely limited to Singapore citizens and permanent residents. Short term tourist visits from Australia, Brunei, Mainland China, New Zealand, Taiwan and Vietnam are now allowed, subject to securing an Air Travel Pass and taking a PCR test on arrival. Business travelers from these countries, as well as Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea can also enter under the Reciprocal Green Lane scheme, but are subject to tight restrictions.

What are the restrictions?

Singapore nationals and permanent residents are allowed to enter, but must have proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure and spend 14 days in quarantine after being served a stay-home notice (SHN) on arrival. This can be undertaken in a dedicated SHN facility, or at their place of residence. However, those who opt for the latter must wear an electronic monitoring device for 14 days and will be subject to checks, including random visits, calls and text messages. Details including ID card or passport number must be shared in order to confirm identity. A further PCR test must be taken and come back negative before being allowed out into the community.
Those traveling from countries with an Air Travel Pass agreement must apply for entry here between seven and 30 days before departure and submit health details and all travel movements over the previous 14 days via a SGArrivalCard. They must also download the Trace Together app to their mobile device and pay for an on-arrival PCR test, at a cost of SGD$196 (US $148). This applies to all travelers aged six and over. Passengers must also secure non-residential accommodation for 48 hours while awaiting their results.
Business travelers using the Reciprocal Green Lane and working for Singapore-based companies are subject to the same rules and must be staying at a non-residential address. They must also give authorities an itinerary for the entire length of their stay.
A planned travel bubble with Hong Kong has been indefinitely postponed.
Ahead of the World Economic Forum, which will be held in Singapore in May 2021, the Singaporean government is considering relaxing travel and quarantine rules for visitors who have proof of being vaccinated for Covid-19. However, this has not been officially confirmed and should not yet be taken as fact.

What's the Covid situation?

Covid has been largely suppressed in the community. Singapore has had 59,157 cases and just 29 deaths from coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. New cases are largely confined to quarantine facilities.
The city-state began rolling out Covid vaccines from Pfizer on January 13. Among the first groups of people to get vaccinated are medical personnel, front-line workers and some Singapore Airlines employees who interact with the public, including flight attendants and gate agents. Terminal 4 of Changi Airport is being used as a vaccine distribution site, but this should not affect incoming or outgoing flights as they are at other terminals.
The city-state has already started its rollout of the Pfizer vaccine. Singapore Airlines (SIA) chief executive Goh Choon Phong was among the first in the country to get inoculated, and he has encouraged airline employees to follow suit.
On January 18, he sent an email to the entire company informing them that SIA staff with public-facing jobs (including flight attendants, gate agents and pilots) were eligible for free shots. Phong's stated goal is for SIA to become the world's first fully-vaccinated airline, all the better for restarting the country's tourism industry.

What can visitors expect?

Shops, bars and restaurants are open, but all visits must be registered either through the Singapore government's Safe Entry and Trace Together apps or by using a Trace Together token, which are available from community centers. Alcohol is not available in restaurants after 10.30 p.m.
Masks must be worn at all times when in public, except by those under six. There are exemptions for eating and exercising.

Useful links

Our recent coverage

The travel bubble with Hong Kong may have been delayed, but Singapore residents have been enjoying "cruises to nowhere" in 2020. The city-state is of course known for its food, and has featured in our lists of the world's 50 best dishes and 50 best desserts.