Smooth boarding for China flight after scramble for tests
No one booked on Guangzhou-bound flight seen being turned away after they scrambled to meet Covid test deadline
Passengers headed for Guangzhou early yesterday morning appeared to have no issues boarding Scoot Flight TR100 despite having had to scramble to undergo last-minute Covid-19 tests after the Chinese Embassy announced new requirements.
No passenger was turned away from the 5.15am flight when The Straits Times visited Changi Airport around 2am yesterday.
When asked if all passengers were allowed to board, Scoot would say only that the flight departed with 254 passengers and two infants.
Last week, scores of anxious passengers with a seat on this as well as other China-bound flights, had turned up at the former Shuqun Secondary School to be tested for Covid-19.
This came after an Aug 21 announcement by the Chinese Embassy that from Aug 28, all travellers from Singapore to China will have to take a Covid-19 test within five days of their flight to ensure they are free of the coronavirus.
Passengers booked on Flight TR100 were alerted to the new requirement in an urgent e-mail sent by Scoot last Tuesday.
They were instructed to go for the test at the regional screening centre located at the site of the former school in Jurong East on Wednesday.
Passengers had to also declare that, in the last 14 days, they did not have a fever at or above 37.3 deg C, and had not been in contact with patients with a fever or respiratory symptoms, among other things.
Chinese national Ren Peng Ju, 30, who has lived in Singapore for the past 10 years, took the test.
Mr Ren, who works in the manufacturing sector, said his company bore the cost of his Covid-19 test. Passengers taking the test at the centre must pay $186 before their test results are released to them.
Mr Ren said in Mandarin before entering the departure hall yesterday: "I went for the test on Wednesday after receiving the e-mail but everything went pretty smoothly.
"I was actually quite thankful for the arrangements and am glad to be going home."
The Shandong native added that he was returning to China for good, with plans to start his own business there.
"The coronavirus affected (the manufacturing sector) pretty badly, in terms of jobs and salary. China has been developing well, there are more opportunities there, and I think it is time to go back."
Some passengers said they heard about the Chinese Embassy's new requirements before Scoot sent out its e-mail.
The first China-bound flight after the new rules kicked in - Air China Flight CA768 to Hangzhou - made the trip from Singapore last Friday with 47 passengers on board.