Singapore to accept COVID-19 digital travel pass from next month


FILE PHOTO: People look at a Singapore Airlines plane, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a viewing gallery of the Changi Airport in Singapore October 12, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore will next month accept visitors who use a mobile travel pass containing digital certificates for COVID-19 tests and vaccines, its aviation regulator said on Monday, becoming one of the first countries to adopt the initiative.

Singapore will accept the International Air Transport Association (IATA) mobile travel pass for pre-departure checks, where travelers can get clearance to fly to and enter Singapore by showing a smartphone application containing their data from accredited laboratories.

The pass was successfully tested by Singapore Airlines. More than 20 carriers, including Emirates, Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines, are also testing the pass.

"The success of our joint efforts will make IATA's partnership with the government of Singapore a model for others to follow," IATA director general Willie Walsh said in a statement.

Asian business hub Singapore, which has had relatively few coronavirus cases this year, has been a leader in developing and using technology during the pandemic and wants to be among the first countries to reopen to host international events.

Airlines are hoping more countries will approve digital passes on apps to allow travel to resume faster and avoid complications and delays at airports where multiple checks on documents are required.

Currently, travelers from most countries are required to take pre-departure COVID-19 swab tests within 72 hours of their flights in order to travel to Singapore, with results presented at airport check-in and on arrival.

(Reporting by Chen Lin; Editing by Martin Petty)

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