Singapore

Passengers on China-bound flights undergo Covid testing

Chinese Embassy here says travellers from Singapore to China must be tested within five days before flying

Scores of anxious passengers with seats on China-bound flights showed up at the former Shuqun Secondary School yesterday to be tested for Covid-19.

The last-minute tests come after the Chinese Embassy here announced on its website last Friday that from tomorrow, all travellers from Singapore to China will have to take a Covid-19 test within five days before their flight to the country, to ensure they are free of the coronavirus.

Passengers who are booked on Flight TR100 bound for Guangzhou on Sunday morning were alerted to the new requirement in an urgent e-mail sent by Scoot on Tuesday afternoon.

The e-mail added that "testing arrangements have been made by the relevant authorities and must be strictly adhered to".

Passengers on that flight were instructed to go for the test at the regional screening centre located at the former Shuqun Secondary School in Jurong East between 9am and 10.30am yesterday.

Over 200 people, some with their families, were at the centre when The Straits Times visited yesterday.

The passengers had to produce their plane tickets - on flights operated by Scoot and China Southern Airlines to various Chinese cities - to security personnel before they were allowed to be tested.

One passenger who wanted to be known only as Mr Chen told The Straits Times that he would be flying home to Guangzhou on Flight TR100.

Mr Chen, who was at the testing centre with his wife, was worried about whether the flight would go ahead on Sunday.

"This was a mess from the start. We thought we would finally be able to see our families but our flights kept getting changed.

"Now with this testing, I'm not sure if there will be more delays," said the engineer, who is in his 40s.

Other passengers were unhappy that the test was sprung on them.

Ms Lin Yuling, an accountant who works in Singapore, said: "We were informed late last night that this would happen.

"There are a lot more people here than expected, and we are not sure how our travel plans will be affected now."

The 36-year-old, who was planning to go to Tianjin with her husband on Sunday, added that she was told that passengers have to pay for the test, which costs $186.

According to the Scoot e-mail, passengers must pay for the test before the results can be released to them.

Scoot also said that as the test results will require a turnaround time of 48 hours, passengers must adhere to the time slot for the test to receive the results in time for the flight on Sunday.

Not everyone had the means to pay. A construction worker who wanted to be known only as Mr Wang said he will ask his employer for help as he could not afford the test.

coronavirus