Singapore

SafeTravel website crashes due to surge in travel pass applications

The SafeTravel website, where foreign travellers wishing to enter Singapore can apply for a vaccinated travel pass, crashed and was down for several hours yesterday, the first day applications were open for those entering from Malaysia.

The Straits Times understands the site went down at about noon, displaying a message that it was undergoing scheduled maintenance. A check at 3pm showed that it was back up, but a text box, citing high volume, advised users to log in later if they were unable to access the application service.

When contacted by ST, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said the disruption was due to the vaccinated travel pass application window opening for both travellers from Malaysia and Indonesia at 10am.

"There was a concurrent surge of applications, which resulted in the earlier system disruption. We regret the inconvenience caused and thank applicants for their understanding," it said.

Vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) between Singapore and Malaysia and Singapore and Indonesia are due to begin next Monday.

Vaccinated travel pass applications for travellers from India opened at 6pm, and the site continued to experience high volume into the night.

ICA noted that there is no quota for vaccinated travel passes issued for air travel. The pass applies only to short-term foreign travellers and long-term pass holders. Singapore citizens and permanent residents need not apply to enter Singapore under the VTL.

Travel between Singapore and Malaysia has been anticipated for quite some time since Malaysia shut its borders in March last year. More than 100,000 Malaysians continue to live and work here after nearly 20 months of not being able to be with their families in Malaysia.

Pre-Covid-19, Singapore-Kuala Lumpur was the busiest international air route in the world, with about 40 flights daily and an average of 7,000 arrivals per day at Changi Airport.

Indonesia was one of Changi Airport's top three markets pre-pandemic.

Even during Covid-19 last year, it made up 11.6 per cent of the Republic's tourism receipts.

The current VTL, however, is unidirectional - although Indonesian travellers are allowed in without quarantine, Singapore travellers remain locked out of Indonesia. - THE STRAITS TIMES

Technology