SINGAPORE: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday (Oct 31) announced Australia would reopen its borders to all vaccinated Singaporeans from Nov 21.
This means that vaccinated travellers from Singapore will not need to quarantine on arrival, in states that “sign up to the approach”, according to Australian newspaper The Age.
The prime ministers finalised the arrangement on Sunday in Rome, where both are attending the G20 summit, The Age reported.
The move was welcomed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who said it was “a significant step towards restoring the close connectivity between Singapore and Australia”. Mr Lee also thanked Mr Morrison for the decision.
Singapore is the second country Australia is opening up to, after New Zealand.
In response to media queries, Mr Lee’s press secretary said: “Together with the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) which Singapore is establishing with Australia, there will be two-way quarantine-free travel between Singapore and selected Australian states including New South Wales and Victoria.
“Singaporean students can also return to these states to resume their studies.”
Transport Minister S Iswaran said the move was a significant one. “Families and loved ones can reunite, students can resume their studies, and businesspeople and tourists can once again travel,” he said in a Facebook post on Sunday night.
Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAAS) announced earlier this week that Australia would be added to Singapore’s quarantine-free vaccinated travel lane (VTL) scheme from Nov 8.
Before Sunday’s announcement, the two-way travel applied only to fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families due to its border measures.
Australia is among Singapore’s top 10 markets for annual passenger arrivals at Changi Airport, accounting for about 4 per cent of total arrivals in 2019, according to CAAS.
More than 50,000 Singaporeans live in Australia, and about 25,000 Australians live in Singapore.
“The VTL will enable them to reconnect with their loved ones back home, whom they have been physically separated from for more than a year,” CAAS said in the statement earlier this week.
Under the vaccinated travel lane scheme, travellers must have remained in one or more of the VTL countries in the last 14 days before departure to Singapore.
They must take two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests – before departure and on arrival at Changi Airport – and enter Singapore via designated flights.
Unvaccinated children aged 12 and below are allowed to travel under the scheme – except to South Korea – as long as they are accompanied by a traveller who meets the requirements.