Singapore Permits Switzerland Australia Travel

Singapore Permits Switzerland Australia Travel

Singapore has announced an expansion of quarantine-free travel lane (VTL) to Australia and Switzerland. .Due to previous border restrictions, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore reported that two-way travel was only available to fully vaccinate Australian citizens, permanent residents, and their immediate families in Australia (CAAS). On its part, Australia has also stated that in the future, it intends to reopen its borders to additional visitors. However, prior to departing for Singapore, travelers in the vaccinated travel lane scheme would be required to spend 14 days in one or more of the VTL countries. They must also submit to two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests - one prior to departure and one upon arrival at Changi Airport - and fly into Singapore only on designated flights.

With the exception of South Korea, unvaccinated children aged 12 and under are permitted to travel under the scheme if accompanied by a travel companion who meets the requirements. Singapore has now announced the establishment of vaccinated travel lanes in 13 countries. According to CAAS, the scheme's successful implementation has given the organization the "experience and confidence" to expand it to additional countries. As of Monday, more than 15,000 travelers had been issued passes under the vaccinated travel lane scheme, with approximately 5,000 already entering Singapore.

According to CAAS, the daily quota for those entering Singapore under the scheme will be increased from 3,000 to 4,000 as a result of the scheme's expansion to Australia and Switzerland. According to CAAS, both Australia and Switzerland fall under Category II of the Ministry of Health's border measures, with COVID-19 incidence rates comparable to or lower than those in Singapore and other countries that participate in the vaccinated travel lane scheme. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated last week that Singapore and Australia were nearing the conclusion of negotiations to establish a travel agreement, with an agreement probably expected within the next week.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the program initially targets immunized students and business travelers before expanding to tourists. Australia is one of Singapore's top ten markets for annual passenger arrivals at Changi Airport, accounting for approximately 4% of total arrivals this year, according to CAAS. It stated that over 50,000 Singaporeans call Australia home, while approximately 25,000 Australians call Singapore home. Mr. Morrison's comments that Australia will reopen to more Singaporean travelers prompted CAAS to respond that more information would be released later. Switzerland is one of Singapore's top trading and investment partners, according to CAAS, with approximately 3,000 Swiss expatriates in the city-state.

Further, all Singaporeans are allowed to enter Switzerland and are not required to self-quarantine upon arrival. Singapore opened the first vaccinated travel lanes for Brunei and Germany. It was later extended to Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Beginning November 2021, a vaccinated travel lane would be available between the United States and South Korea. S Iswaran, Minister of Transport, told reporters recently that despite the announcement of 13 vaccinated travel lanes thus far, this represents only a fraction of the 80 countries Changi Airport served prior to the pandemic. "We need to gradually restore safe two-way quarantine-free travel with additional regions in an attempt to rebuild our aviation hub," he said. "We are discussing with other partners, including our regional neighbors, about safe reopening and close connectivity re-establishment," Mr. Iswaran said, adding that Singapore hopes to conclude additional such discussions soon. When asked if any conditions had been established to allow students and eventually all travelers to fly from Singapore to Australia, Mr. Iswaran stated that no "specific threshold number" was established based on infection numbers or other factors.

According to the official, such plans must be developed in light of both Singapore's and its partner countries' developments. Mr. Iswaran was also questioned about the wisdom of expanding the vaccinated travel lane scheme further in light of the current COVID-19 situation. He responded by stating that part of acclimating to the coronavirus was considering how Singapore would open its borders. The Transport Minister cited traveler protections such as vaccination and testing requirements, noting that destinations served by vaccinated travel lanes were "relatively safer." Mr. Iswaran stated that the travel restrictions were eased "prudently and cautiously," noting that many Singaporeans have relatives in these countries. "I believe it comes down to what can make a difference to Singaporeans' lives and livelihoods," he added.