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Good News!

In less than 24 hours after announcing tightened restrictions, South Korea has announced that travellers from Singapore using the VTLs will be able to enter without quarantine. Nevertheless, stay on guard and refer to this link for the latest updates!

It’s been an unsavoury start for travel in December, with the Omicron variant wreaking havoc for year-end travel.

Unfortunately, the gauntlet has fallen on South Korea. Less than 24 hours ago, South Korea reported its first five cases of the Omicron variant, and the government is reacting swiftly, by tightening its border measures, effective 3 December.

10-day Quarantine in South Korea

From 3 December 2021, South Korea will require all international arrivals to undergo a 10-day mandatory quarantine, regardless of vaccination status. This rule will be in place until 17 December 2021.

South Korean citizens and foreigners on long-term stay will be allowed to quarantine at home, while foreigners on short-term stay will have to be quarantined at a temporary facility designated by the government.

The Singapore-Korea VTL seems to be put on a halt, just 2 weeks after its official launch due to Omicron!

What about VTLs?

The most relevant concern to this announcement would be the VTLs. To address it directly, here’s what MFA mentioned in its initial announcement:

ROK authorities have agreed that fully vaccinated travellers entering the ROK from Singapore will be subject to the same COVID-19 protocols as fully vaccinated ROK nationals, such as quarantine exemption and prevailing social distancing guidelines.

MFA Singapore

There you have it. Fully-vaccinated Korean nationals are subject to the 10-day quarantine, so Singaporeans would be bound by the same conditions.

What can you do now?

A 10-day quarantine is definitely not pleasant, and it’s not a surprise if you have decided to defer your travel. If your tickets are booked (directly) with Singapore Airlines, you will be glad to know that you are covered by its complimentary rebooking policy (fare differences may apply). This was recently extended for all tickets issued by 31 March 2022.

Date of ChangeRemarks
On/before 31 March 2022Unlimited free changes
From 1 April 2022One free change

Any booking changes must be made before the original travel date (at least 2 hours before departure), or within a year of the ticket’s date of issuance, whichever is earlier.

If your booking was made through a travel agency or partner airline, you will need to contact them directly for assistance. 

It remains to be seen if Singapore Airlines will offer refunds though. Fingers crossed! If you have any details on that, do share that with us!

Conclusion

It’s certainly not the spirit that we want to end 2021 with, but we all have to deal with these inconveniences and be flexible with our plans.

If you have upcoming travel to Korea planned, you should definitely monitor the latest updates on Singapore Airlines’ Facebook page. If your travel is happening within the next 48 hours, I’d definitely call up SIA and move my dates further into the future, to give me some buffer time!

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