Travel

Singapore 'optimistic' that land VTL with Johore can launch by end Nov, details expected next week

SINGAPORE - The Singapore-Malaysia land border could open by the end of the month (November) to allow those separated from their loved ones due to the pandemic to reunite, the Covid-19 multi-ministry task force announced on Saturday (Nov 20).

The countries are in talks to open a vaccinated travel lane (VTL) for vaccinated travellers, prioritising families that have been long separated since the start of Covid-19.

"We have been working very thoroughly with multiple agencies and I am optimistic that we will be able to open up this vaccinated travel lane for land around the end of the month," task force co-chairman Gan Kim Yong said.

He was responding to queries from The Straits Times, regarding media reports that the border between Singapore and Johor was set to reopen on Nov 29.

Dr Gan did not confirm a reopening date, but said details will be announced sometime next week so that Singaporeans will have time to make the necessary arrangements.

It will likely kick off with a limited number of travellers each day with a quota in place, he said.

"Some are working here, wanting to go back to reunite with their family members. Some Singaporeans who work in Malaysia want to come back to Singapore to see their family members," he said.

"So I think the first phase of the VTL for land is likely to focus on this group of people who have a need to meet their family to be reunited, and subsequently we can think about expanding the scope to allow more people to travel."

He added that it was unlikely the VTL will restore travel to pre-pandemic days, where tens of thousands of people used to travel across the border each day.

More than 100,000 Malaysians are estimated to be stuck in Singapore since the borders were closed, and are hoping to be reunited with families back home.

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