Positive Signs for Border Openings
The waiting for changes to borders in Asia seems to be over. While most borders remain highly restricted, positive signs and progress are being made.
This week, Australia announced plans to permit fully vaccinated residents to travel internationally again. Malaysia has also removed domestic and international barriers for its residents who are fully vaccinated. India will allow international arrivals on tourist and e-visas, although commercial flights remain banned until 31 October. Singapore announced Vaccinated Travel Lanes from 19 October with nine additional countries. Under VTL, quarantine is no longer required, although arrivals to Singapore will need to remain in isolation while awaiting the arrival PCR test results.
We are still awaiting further clarifications regarding two significant changes in Singapore this week.
- Category II arrivals will no longer need to quarantine at a government-assigned hotel. Instead, they will now be required to schedule their hotel or temporary accommodation (as well as transportation and all meals while isolated).
- The change of Category for several countries had a corresponding impact on the length of SHN. For example, while a change from Category III with mandatory government assigned 10-day SHN hotel to Category II with a shortened quarantine of 7 days is positive, there have been some challenges because the hotels that service SHN for 10 and 14 days do not for 7 day SHN resulting in a required change of location for SHN.
Lastly, as countries begin to use their domestic mobile tracing apps to verify vaccination status and differentiate between vaccinated and non-vaccinated for entry to stores and dining at restaurants, a new challenge has presented itself. There is sometimes a lack of clarity for getting a foreign vaccination uploaded into the mobile app. It can also be a challenge to await the implementation of the vaccine status inside the app, which can take anywhere from 2 days to 1-2 weeks depending on the country, during which movements can be restricted.
So far, the countries most impacted are Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. For these locations, we have created guides for registering an overseas vaccination. They are available to view and download from our blog: https://www.relonetworkasia.com/blog/guide-registering-an-overseas-vaccination-in-asia/ We will continue to publish additional guides as necessary.
Please email me if you will be attending the WERC Global Workforce Symposium next week and would like access to our special GWS Chicago version of our soon-to-be-release mobile app.
You can download a pdf version of this week’s report here: