This story was first published on September 23, 2021, and updated on November 1, 2021.
The day many of us have been waiting for is finally here. Australia has announced that it will be officially reopening its borders to all vaccinated Singaporeans from November 21, according to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on October 31.
This means that all vaccinated travellers from Singapore will not need to quarantine upon arriving in states that have signed up for the approach, according to an Australian newspaper called The Age. These states are currently New South Wales and Victoria.
The move was finalised by Australia and Singapore’s prime ministers in Rome where they are currently attending the G20 summit.
The announcement was welcomed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who said it was “a significant step towards restoring the close connectivity between Singapore and Australia”.
This news comes just days after Singapore announced that it would be officially be extending its quarantine-free Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme to Australia and Switzerland from November 8 this year.
The move initially only allowed fully vaccinated travellers from Australia to enter Singapore without quarantine.
However, the looser travel restrictions will now apply both ways.
In response to media queries, Mr Lee’s press secretary said: “Together with the Vaccinated Travel Lane 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.”
Vaccinated travellers must simply have remained in one or more of the VTL countries in the last 14 days before they can depart to Singapore.
They must also take two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. One should be done before departure and the second should be done on arrival in Singapore.
Children 12 and under who are unvaccinated will be allowed to travel under this scheme as long as they are accompanied by a traveller who meets all the requirements and who is also vaccinated.
Germany and Brunei were the first two countries to get a VTL earlier this year and it was thankfully successful enough to give CAAS the “experience and confidence” to extend it to more countries.
“We will continue to do so in a cautious and step-by-step manner without compromising public health,” CAAS said.
As of October 25, over 15,000 travellers have been issued passes under the VTL scheme with about 5,000 of them having entered Singapore already.
The quota for those entering Singapore under the VTL scheme will also be increased from 3,000 to 4,000 travellers daily, according to CAAS.
This news is certainly welcome considering that over 50,000 Singaporeans live in Australia while 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,” said CAAS.