New Zealanders will soon be able to travel to Singapore quarantine free, under a new unilateral travel bubble that will begin in September. But we’re not jealous at all are we? Turns out we are.
As it stands, entry into Singapore is restricted for most foreign visitors. To gain access into the Asian hub, travellers must obtain an approval letter from the Singaporean Government and undergo a 14-day isolation period on their arrival at their own expense.
However, the Singapore Government has just announced that New Zealand and Brunei are deemed to have the “virus situation well under control and thus [have] a low risk of importation”, giving the green light for residents of both nations to travel to Singapore.
Singapore Education Minister Lawrence Wong said: “We know that some places have been able to control the infection effectively, and the risk of importation is low. Our assessment is that there is no need for a stay-home notice requirement for travellers from these low-risk places, and a COVID-19 test will be sufficient.”
As such, from September 1, residents from Brunei and New Zealand will be able to visit Singapore without entering into any kind of quarantine.
How does it work?
Firstly, New Zealanders will need to apply for an Air Travel Pass seven to thirty days out before they depart for Singapore.
Once they disembark at Changi Airport they will then need to take and pass a COVID-19 test on arrival before being allowed to pass through immigration and enter the country.
While Singapore’s Government is yet to detail how long it will take to get the test results back, once they are confirmed as COVID-free, they can then enter Singapore and stay as long as their visa permits, as you would normally.
Unless an exemption is made for Singapore, don’t go banking on getting travel insurance for your trip. The worldwide “do not travel” notice for all New Zealanders that was put in place in March still applies and does not appear to be scheduled to be lifted just yet.
You’ll also need to cover your own medical bills, should you become sick while in Singapore, with the Singaporean Government saying “Should [travellers] require medical treatment for COVID-19, they will be responsible for their medical bills.”
To top it all off, Kiwis will still have to quarantine for 14-days once they arrive back home in New Zealand, at a cost of NZ$3100 for an adult and NZ$950 for each additional adult.
Returning travellers will also have to take two COVID-19 tests in New Zealand, before being allowed to leave isolation.
Disappointingly for Singaporeans, the new travel bubble with New Zealand is only unilateral, with the New Zealand border remaining closed to almost all foreigners except citizens and residents.
Meanwhile, ‘essential travel’ for business, official and work purposes to and from Singapore will also continue to be permitted under the reciprocal arrangements in place with countries such as Malaysia and China.
As for us here in Australia? Keep on dreaming.
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