How a travel bubble between Singapore and Germany could set the blueprint for Australia’s international flights once 80% jab target is reached
- From Wednesday Singapore removes quarantine for arrivals from Germany
- The ‘vaccinated travel lane’ will only apply to fully jabbed arrivals over 12
- The policy provides an example for how Australia can roll out travel bubbles
Singapore is about to allow quarantine-free travel from Germany after vaccinating 80 per cent of its population in a taste of what’s to come for Australians when the international borders finally open.
The so-called ‘vaccinated travel lane’ will begin on Wednesday for fully jabbed travellers, but excludes under 12s for whom there are no approved vaccines.
Instead of quarantining for 14 days, arrivals will have to get tested when they land in Singapore and isolate at home or in a hotel until their negative result.
Singapore (pictured) is opening up travel bubbles with 80 per cent of its country vaccinated
The lane only applies to people who did not leave Germany in the 21 days before their flight. Germany already allows unrestricted arrivals from Singapore.
It is primarily for business travel with seven flights a week to Frankfurt and Munich.
The policy shows how Australia could set up travel bubbles once vaccination rates hit 80 per cent, expected in November.
‘Singapore is a good example for Australia to pay attention to because we are probably going to be in a similar situation – we need to open up and we need to do it in a way that Covid-19 is going to become endemic,’ said Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases physician at Canberra Hospital.
Scott Morrison’s national re-opening plan allows for outbound travel when the 80 per cent jab rate is hit.
Millions of Australians are enduring Covid lockdowns. Pictured: A Sydney resident at Kings Cross on Monday
Australians will be able to do home quarantine for seven days when they get back from a trip or have no quarantine at all if arriving from a travel bubble country.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said his nation would gradually open its borders to the world.
‘We will move step by step – not in one big bang like some countries, but cautiously and progressively, feeling our way forward,’ he said.
Singapore, a nation of 6million, only recorded an average of 185 new Covid cases per day last week.
Transport Minister S Iswaran said opening up was essential to keep the economy alive.
‘The current situation is not sustainable. As a small and open economy, Singapore’s survival and success depends critically on being open and connected to the world,’ he said.
In 2019, Singapore welcomed a record 19.1 million travellers – more than three times its total population, with China, Indonesia and India contributing 40 per cent.
On Friday Mr Morrison confirmed that Australians will be allowed on overseas holidays even if some state borders are still closed when 80 per cent are vaccinated.
The Prime Minister said once Australia reaches the vaccination target he will allow international travel to restart for any state that wants it.
Covid-free Queensland and Western Australia have threatened to keep their domestic borders closed beyond that threshold but Mr Morrison said this would not affect overseas holidays for people in states living with Covid-19.
In a press conference on Friday he was asked: ‘Can you envision opening [international travel] to a state like NSW when they get above 80 per cent and not waiting for states who don’t want to open?’
‘Yes. I can. Well the national plan sets out that very clearly,’ Mr Morrison replied.
It means that an Australian in Sydney or Melbourne may be allowed to London or New York before Perth or Brisbane.
On Thursday Health Minister Greg Hunt revealed that bio-security laws banning outbound travel have been extended until December 17.
But the laws can be removed early if 80 per cent are vaccinated before then.
Australians will be allowed on overseas holidays even if some state borders are still closed when 80 per cent are vaccinated, Scott Morrison confirmed. Pictured: Sydney passengers before lockdown