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China scraps PCR testing for arrivals from Singapore

There are now no countries requiring fully vaccinated travellers from Singapore to undergo a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test, with China the last to drop this requirement.

China has announced a significant relaxation in pre-departure testing requirements this month, with travellers originating in 16 countries, including Singapore, no longer obliged to have an expensive clinic PCR test within 48 hours of departure.

Instead, only a self-administered or clinic rapid antigen (ART) test is required, including the use home test kits with no supervision or results certificate required.


Airlines will also cease checking negative test results prior to boarding on China-bound flights from these countries, with self-declaration on arrival now the norm.

Unfortunately China is still not issuing new tourism visas or reinstating its visa exemption for Singapore citizens at this stage, making leisure trips unfeasible, however this relaxation will benefit those who can currently travel to China without restriction, include its own citizens, and those who hold a valid residence permit or are studying there.

It also paves the way for a relatively simple arrival process for Singapore residents, once tourism is reinstated.

China removed quarantine requirements for overseas arrivals in early January 2023, but still required travellers to take a PCR test 48 hours before their departure flight, regardless of origin country.

Latest China pre-departure test regime

Effective from 1st March 2023, travellers flying to China on direct flights from the following countries no longer require a pre-departure PCR test:

Instead only a negative ART test is required, which can be administered at home using a self test kit, within 48 hours of departure.

While not required, a clinic ART test or clinic PCR test with a negative result certificate is also acceptable, but less convenient and more costly, so these are unlikely to be of interest to travellers now that a simple self-swab will suffice.


ART test kits in Singapore are widely available for around S$5 each.

This relaxation will save Singapore travellers heading to China S$50+ by removing the expensive pre-departure PCR test requirement.

Travellers heading to China from Singapore will no longer need to obtain a costly PCR test. (Photo: Li Yang)

From 1 March 2023, pre-departure self-administered Antigen Rapid Test (ART) results will be accepted in place of pre-departure Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test results for travellers on direct flights from Singapore to Mainland China.

Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Once you have obtained your negative ART result, you will need to complete a health declaration form:

  • via the China Customs mobile application, or
  • online at, or
  • via a specific WeChat program for China Customs.

Negative pre-departure PCR test results are still required for travellers arriving from all other countries, like the UK, the USA, Japan and South Korea.

China arrival process

On arrival in China, you can proceed through customs with your health form, including declaration of a negative self-swab ART result.

Customs may conduct random sampling inspections, and if there are issues with your health declaration, or you have COVID-19 symptoms, you will be required to take an on-arrival test. If the result is positive, you will need to self-quarantine or seek medical treatment as directed.


Travellers with no symptoms and a correctly completed health declaration, who are not selected for random on-arrival testing or return a negative result from such a test, can proceed to enter China with no quarantine, isolation or further testing requirements.

Singapore – China flights are ramping up

Scoot recently announced a significant ramp-up of direct services from Singapore to China.

Key points include:

  • Growth of Scoot’s existing Singapore – China operations (Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Tianjin and Zhengzhou) from 14 flights per week to 26 flights per week in March 2023.
  • Further expansion to 42 flights per week in April 2023, including the return of HaikouNingbo and Xi’an to the network.
  • Further expansion to 57 flights per week in May and June 2023, including the return of Nanning and Shenyang to the network.
Scoot will ramp up to 57 weekly mainland China flights by June 2023. (Photo: Gold Coast Airport)

As far as Singapore Airlines is concerned, three times weekly Beijing and Guangzhou flights will increase to daily from late March, while four times weekly flights to Shanghai will also increase to daily at the same time, then to twice daily from June.

However, the carrier will with withdraw from its non-stop flights to Chongqing (1/wk), Shenzhen (3/wk) and Xiamen (2/wk) later this month.

No PCR tests to any country from Singapore

China was the final country globally requiring a negative COVID-19 pre-departure PCR test as a prerequisite for fully vaccinated travellers from Singapore.

India briefly reinstated pre-departure PCR tests for travellers from Singapore at the start of 2023, but ditched the idea about six weeks later.

All countries globally that are open to inbound travellers now have either no testing requirements, or only require rapid antigen (ART) pre-departure testing for visitors originating in Singapore who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Pre-departure testing (PDT) for visitor arrivals from Singapore

Destination Country Fully vaccinated &
most children
Unvaccinated /
not fully vaccinated adults
Angola No PDT ART or PCR
Bangladesh No PDT PCR
Brazil No PDT ART or PCR
Central African Republic No PDT PCR
Chile No PDT PCR
China ART or PCR PCR
Congo No PDT PCR
Colombia No PDT ART or PCR
Equatorial Guinea No PDT PCR
Hong Kong ART or PCR PCR
Indonesia No PDT No Entry*
Japan No PDT
(if triple-vaxxed)
Kenya No PDT PCR
Libya No PDT No Entry
Mauritania No PDT PCR
Mozambique No PDT PCR
Myanmar No PDT PCR
Nepal No PDT PCR
Nicaragua No PDT PCR
Pakistan No PDT PCR
South Sudan No PDT PCR
USA No PDT No Entry**
Venezuela No PDT PCR
Zambia No PDT PCR
Zimbabwe No PDT PCR

* Unless medically exempt from vaccination or recently recovered from COVID-19
** Unless medically exempt from vaccination

For most of our readers in Singapore who are fully vaccinated and their children, there is no longer any PDT issue to worry about. China and Hong Kong are the standouts, but both now accept self-swab ART tests done at home without supervision.

A range of African and South American countries require clinic PCR pre-departure tests for unvaccinated travellers, but most of these aren’t on the ‘leisure trip radar’ for Singapore residents anyway.




Those heading to China from Singapore and 15 other countries can now meet pre-departure test requirements with a simple self-swab ART test at home within 48 hours, and self-declaration of a negative result.

Airlines will no longer check the test result at check-in, but random testing on arrival will still be conducted.

This simplified process should be good news once China reopens its borders to tourists, with Singapore residents then able to travel to the country with minimal hassle once a visa is issued, or visa-free access is reinstated for Singaporeans.

(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)



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