Singapore and Australia have discussed the possibility of an air travel bubble that would allow residents to travel between two countries without being quarantined for two weeks. Under the deal, Australians who have been vaccinated would be allowed to travel to Singapore without approval from the home affairs department, reported The Sydney Morning Herald. It will also help approximately 40,000 Australians stranded overseas to travel back to their country.
Singapore has also discussed with Australia a mutual recognition of vaccination certificates and resumption of travel with priority for students and business travellers. The travellers in both countries will be able to travel without having to complete two weeks of quarantine in hotels. Both countries have controlled the COVID-19 situation by imposing restrictions on borders and lockdown. New Zealand could also be involved which would become a three-way travel bubble, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.
The Sydney Morning Herald also cited Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan as saying that he already had discussions about the plan with Singaporean Minister Chan Chun Sing. He said that Singapore wanted to work with Australia on a proof of vaccination certificate and the officials of both countries would work together. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack told public broadcaster ABC that Australia was working with Singapore for a bubble (beginning) in July. He added that they will reopen more bubbles after the vaccine rolls out in other countries.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told BBC that he hoped that Singapore would reopen its borders by the end of 2021. He added that if many other countries also get their people vaccinated by later this year, they will be able to have the confidence and a developed system to open our international borders for people from other countries. He added that by the end of this year or next year, the borders of the countries may open.
“Hopefully by the end of this year or next year, the doors can start to open, if not earlier.”
International travel for education, business and tourism contribute to the economy of Australia which got affected by the pandemic. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, due to the pandemic, there was a decrease in international students coming to study in Australia which had cost $1.8 billion in revenue. For Singapore, the proposal would bring in revenue for its hotel operators and the broader tourism sector.