TALKS are underway between Singapore and Australia to set up a travel bubble with both countries having brought Covid largely under control and vaccinations programmes underway.
Ministerial officials from both sides are targeting July for two-way travel that would not require quarantine for passengers with vaccination certificates.
“We are in discussions on how to cooperate in opening our economies safely, taking into consideration the Covid-19 situation in both countries,” the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
Singapore allows visitors from Australia, New Zealand, mainland China and Taiwan to enter without quarantine if certain requirements such as a negative Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction test if proved on arrival.
“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,” the foreign ministry added.
The bubble would also enable passengers transiting from third countries to enter Australia via Singapore if they undergo a 14-day quarantine in Singapore, according to reports.
In 2019, Australia’s busiest international route was between Melbourne and Singapore; there were a total of 24,714 flights between the two countries that same year, the Simple Flying website reported.
Australia’s deputy prime minister Michael McCormack said that as vaccines roll out travel bubbles with other countries would be considered depending on low rates of infection and mutual recognition of vaccination passports.
Singapore’s transport minister Ong Ye Kun told CNBC that officials have not given up on establishing a bilateral travel bubble with Hong Kong. The scheme was halted before a day it was due to commence last November due to a spike in Covid cases in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi said Beijing planned to issue vaccine passports and was willing to explore mutual agreements with other countries to recognise proof of inoculation. Travellers to China currently have to undergo 14-day quarantine.
Travellers from Hong Kong or Macau with proof of having received a Chinese or foreign-produced vaccine were likely to be among the first to benefit from the plans, Business Traveller Asia Pacific reports.