Australia and Singapore have agreed to start work on a plan for a travel bubble, which would initially allow students to return. But frustratingly, there’s still no timeline yet as the agreement depends on a number of factors.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a brief visit to Singapore on Thursday for talks with his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong about the potential of an Australia/Singapore travel bubble.
Mr Morrison said Singapore had done a “tremendous” job in tackling COVID-19 and it was time to put systems in place to enable the two countries to open up in a similar way to the Australia-New Zealand bubble “when we are both in a position to do so”.
“There is still some time before we reach that milestone but there is nothing impeding us – as we discussed today – from getting on with the job of putting systems in place that will enable such a bubble to emerge between Singapore and Australia,” he said.
“We discussed giving a priority to students from Singapore to be able to return to Australia to complete their studies … and for that to occur sooner rather than later.”
Mr Lee said at the joint media conference the world was now moving into the “next phase of the fight”, in relation to the pandemic.
The “safe and calibrated” air travel bubble would start with mutual recognition of vaccine certificates, he said.
“When ready then we can start small with an air travel bubble to build confidence on both sides,” he said.
Cabinet minister Peter Dutton hopes the travel bubble will be established as soon as possible.
“It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but let’s work toward it as quickly as we can,” he told the Nine Network on Friday.
“Singapore is a great partner to work with, they are very reliable, they have a great health system and are a great tourism destination, as has Australia for those tourists that want to get out of Singapore and come to a great country like Australia.”
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