Omicron variant: Malaysia, Singapore to wait-and-see on SOP changes for VTL


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 02 Dec 2021

JOHOR BARU: Malaysia and Singapore will need between two weeks to one month to decide on whether there is a need for a more appropriate standard operating procedures (SOP) for the land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL-Land), following the emergence of Covid-19 Omicron variant.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said that such a time frame was needed by both sides to see the effects of the Omicron variant.

"But at the same time, the VTL-Land will continue," he said when met after launching the JohorPay apps and Johor Project Monitoring System (JoMS) at a hotel here on Thursday (Dec 2).

Hasni said earlier, he attended the audience made by Singapore Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan to Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar here.

During the audience with His Majesty, Dr Vivian described there was no certainty that the Omicron variant would disrupt the smooth operation of VTL-Land between Malaysia and Singapore.

"So far, the VTL-Land is running well and we have to improve on the SOP if we want to increase the number of travellers with conditions and SOP requirements, such as a test on arrival need to be improved.

"Perhaps, if there are new issues arising regarding this Omicron variant, a more suitable SOP will be introduced that would involve both countries", he said.

He also said that since the launch of the VTL-Land on Monday (Nov 29), two cases had been detected involving one traveller from Singapore, while the other one was from Malaysia.

Under the VTL, fully vaccinated travellers could travel between Singapore and Malaysia but were subject to Covid-19 tests in lieu of serving quarantine or a stay-home notice.

On Wednesday (Dec 1), Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said travellers using the Malaysia-Singapore VTL by air or land would be required to perform a Covid-19 self-test on the third and seventh day after their arrival.

He also said the results would have to be reported through the MySejahtera app.

The creation of VTLs between countries that had reported transmission of Omicron or were on the ministry’s temporary travel ban would also be postponed, he added.

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