Singapore and Australia are inching closer to a travel bubble with both countries flirting with new pathways for the reopening of international borders.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dropped his broadest hint yet that when the country reaches specific immunisation targets, international travel to specific countries can resume.
The PM said only when every box is ticked off by scientific advice will Australia “lift all restrictions on outbound travel for vaccinated persons and extend the travel bubble for unrestricted travel to countries such as Singapore, the Pacific and potentially other candidates”.
Just over 8.3% of Australians over 16 have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, and 30% have received at least one shot.
Morrison will want those numbers to a go much, much higher before he will ease travel restrictions.
Australians are not expecting that to happen before 2022.
Part of Australia’s new approach is to manage Covid-19 like other infectious diseases. The new measures also favour seven-day home quarantine rather than 14-day hotel quarantine for international arrivals who are fully vaccinated.
Singapore and Australia have previously teased travellers with talk of a travel bubble without making firm commitments.
However, Singapore is soon expected to announce new measures to stimulate the economy that may also include the return of leisure travel by the end of the year, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung told the Straits Times.
He said possible destinations for quarantine-free leisure travel would be countries with high vaccination rates that are experiencing downward trends in infection rates.
“Those must be the places that we look at first purely from a scientific public health point of view,” he added.