Australia and Singapore Could Agree for Travel Bubble by Mid 2021

Australia and Singapore Could Agree for Travel Bubble by Mid 2021

Undoubtedly, the pandemic has caused major disruptions to travel for over a year. Airlines and governments are looking for ways to best and the safest way to restart international travel once more.

Singapore is looking to re-establish air connectivity with Australia including plans for a quarantine-free air travel bubble. Before the pandemic, the route between Australia and Singapore had flown almost 6 million passengers.

Singapore is currently in discussions with Australia on the mutual recognition of vaccination certificates and resumption of travel with priority for students and business travellers.

We are also discussing the possibility of an air travel bubble which will allow residents of Singapore and Australia to travel between both countries without the need for quarantine.

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)

MFA’s statement, which addresses a same-day Sydney Morning Herald report on the matter, indicates that Australia is a key partner of Singapore in the region and thus far, both nations have been able to handle the COVID-19 situation.

The ministry did not set any timeframe for the discussions and stated that there are broader implications of Singapore and Australia’s arrangement, if it materialises.

The ministry states: “We are not in discussion on the concept of a quarantine centre or vaccination hub. Australian nationals can transit via Singapore without quarantining to return home if they travel on approved transit routes and if they comply with our public health protocols while in transit.”

Optimistic Timeframe

In order for the travel bubble to happen, Australia’s Minister for Trade and Tourism Dan Tehan said that both countries must agree on a digital coronavirus vaccination travel passport, and on how it will be deployed and managed. 

On a specific time frame, Tehan stated he was “optimistic that we might be able to get something up and running by the middle of the year.”

Broader Implication

Not only could the new travel bubble allow travellers from Australia and Singapore to freely travel between the two countries, it could also result in wider travel from other nations. 

According to a report, the travel bubble could allow travellers from countries not directly involved in the bubble to enter Australia following a two-week period in Singapore, or vice versa. 

Currently, Singapore has travel agreements in place with various countries already, all of which would be able to travel to Australia via two weeks in Singapore.

Aside from Singaporean citizens and travellers with residence rights in Singapore, selected nationalities with agreement with the Singaporean government can enter the country for any purpose. 

The Air Travel Pass allows citizens from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, China, New Zealand, Taiwan and Vietnam to enter Singapore for non-essential reasons. On the other hand, the Reciprocal Green Lane allows those from Brunei Darussalam, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, China, Malaysia and Republic of Korea to enter for business and official travel purposes.

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