COVID-19: Australian travel bubble with maybe New Zealand & Singapore?
There has been talk of a possible travel ‘bubble’ between Australia and New Zealand for about 6 months now – since the whole COVID-19 thing hit Australia in fact. It was always envisaged that the ‘bubble’ would be a whole of country thing, but now, Australian Prime Minister (Scott Morrison), is talking about a potential state-by-state rollout.
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Travel Bubble explained
The idea is that citizens of two countries can travel freely without quarantine but within certain limits. That might mean, you have not travelled to a high COVID-19 infection area for a certain number of days, or you may be subjected to a test, and quarantine until results are known as they are currently doing in Germany.
An example would be someone from New South Wales, who has not travelled to the high COVID-19 infection rate area of Victoria in the last fortnight, would be able to visit New Zealand, if they had a negative COVID test within 48 hours of arrival.
Morrison did exclude states from the ‘bubble’ who are still insisting that people from interstate still need to quarantine – he’s looking at you Western Australia and Queensland.
Two-way bubbles could be in place earlier than the end of the year, according to NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who is facing a general election in a couple of weeks time on October 17.
“”What we would need to be assured of is that when Australia is saying ‘okay we’ve got a hotspot over here’ – that the border around that hotspot means that people aren’t able to travel into the states where we are engaging with trans-Tasman travel,””
Australians could be in the ridiculous situation where we can get to New Zealand before our own fair state of Queensland opens its borders to good old next door neighbour, New South Wales.
Singapore welcomes Australians
The nation-state of Singapore is ready to welcome Australians (except those from COVID-19 infested, private security hotel hell, Victoria).
Singapore is keen to open its borders, now it has its own edition of the pandemic back under control. However it is being understandable cautious, and is rolling out its border access. Australians, if we could travel internationally, are being welcomed to Singapore from 8 October. This travel agreement extends beyond the previously existing ‘green lane’ corridors already open for essential and government travellers and now includes tourists and your standard business trips.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, has also extended its border opening to Vietnam.
Australian government still doesn’t let us travel internationally
I would be greeting this news from Singapore with more delight, if it were not for the Australian government still restricting international travel and insisting returning travellers spend 14 days in self-financed quarantine setting you back AU$3,000.
However, our Prime Minister (Scott Morrison) has been dropping hints that isolation at home with an ankle bracelet for GPS tracking, might be an emerging alternative to the hotel quarantine scheme.
What you need to know if travelling to Singapore
You will still have to comply with all of the rule-enthusiastic Singaporean compliance measures. They include:
- An Air Travel Pass – apply 7 to 30 days in advance. Pass valid for one entry from the stated date and next 7 days
- Download Trace Together app (Apple/Android)
- On arrival COVID-19 test at Changi Airport – cost S$300 (best to register and prepay before travel)
- Hold a hotel or other accommodation booking (for while awaiting your COVID-19 test results)
So, you will need to catch ‘private’ transport – taxi or hire car after your test, to your accommodation, and isolate until you hear of your results.
I think this will probably become the model for air travel for most of the rest of the world (except for the USA, because TRUMP!) until a reliable vaccine or effective treatment and management is found for COVID-19.
Unlike (fortunately not my president) Trump, who seems to think that a vaccine can be conjured up like a paper profit from his bankrupt business dealings, I think we are a long way from an effective vaccine if we ever find one. Please call the common cold and HIV to the stand.
My fingers are itching to play the computer keys and book a trip to NZ of Singapore. But it looks like I will need some calamine lotion in the meantime.