Some UK travelers face barriers entering Singapore under the VTL program

SINGAPORE: Some travelers from the UK are having difficulty entering Singapore under its Vaccinated Taxiways (VTL) program due to some shortcomings in the system.

The VTL program, which allows travel without quarantine in Singapore, was extended to the UK in early October. Travelers must meet certain conditions, such as being fully vaccinated if they are over 12 and have officially recognized proof of vaccination.

However, people aged 13 to 15 cannot get Vaccinated Travel Passes (VTP) to enter Singapore because they do not have a COVID pass from the National Health Service (NHS) proving their status. vaccine. The UK government only issues them to people aged 16 and over.

Such is the conundrum for Mrs Helen Koh’s family – in particular, her niece, 15, and her nephew, 13, both long-term pass holders attempting to return to Singapore to reunite with their family. father after spending two years apart.

“They are fully vaccinated (with the two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech). You just want to insist on a pass that isn’t available in their own country so we don’t know what to do, ”Ms. Koh, 48, said.

“If (authorities want to) recognize only the UK’s NHS COVID Pass as a legitimate platform to verify or certify vaccination status, that’s okay … But they need to understand where the coverage is.” , she said.

Ms Koh added that the situation is paradoxical as unvaccinated children under the age of 12 are allowed to board these VTL flights.

“Why penalize children aged 13 to 15 who are vaccinated? We don’t see the logic.

BACK-AND-FORTH

Describing her correspondence with authorities, Ms Koh added that the family provided immunization records for the children, but these were not recognized.

“They have the doctor or the vaccinator approving it on a full medical record… but we were told, ‘Oh, sorry, because they can’t get the pass, they’re not eligible for the VTL. . ‘”

In an email from the Singapore Civil and Aviation Authority (CAAS) to Ms Koh as seen by CNA, the agency said it noted the difficulties encountered in obtaining the pass for this group of travelers. .

“However, we also ask that you understand that the requirement to produce proof of vaccination that we can authenticate and verify protects VTL and public health,” the email said.

He added that the authorities “were constantly working to take on more transmitters” and suggested that they contact the UK authorities who issue the certificates or consider taking non-VTL flights.

Non-VTL flights are not an option for children, as they will result in a seven-day quarantine that will put a significant strain on their two-and-a-half-week school vacation, Ms. Koh said.

As their vacation approached, Ms. Koh said: “We were very excited (when we first heard the news from VTL)… but now everyone in the family we are all losing sleep.”

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