Traveling will make a comeback sooner rather than later as Singapore is in discussions with South Korea and Australia to resume travel under the “green-lane” arrangements, Singapore hopes to restart essential travel with states that are controlling the COVID-19 situation well.
The move comes after the announcement that transit passengers will be gradually allowed into Singapore’s Changi Airport starting from 2nd June.
New Zealand and Malaysia are similarly involved in the green-lane discussions with Singapore. The People’s Republic of China is the first to successfully establish the green-lane arrangement with Singapore, which will begin this month.
“Reciprocal green lane agreements means that, there must be mutual assurance of each other’s test protocol and standards,” he said at a virtual press conference over the weekend, adding that a 14-day quarantine at both ends would be “essentially unworkable” for the tropical travel bubble to succeed.
Chan told media that Singapore is conducting discussions “with as many countries as possible” on forming green lanes, although participating countries would need to have confidence in each other’s safeguards ” coordinate their quarantine orders so that travellers might only need to be tested or quarantined once.”
Singapore’s Changi Airport will once again allow transit passengers from this week as the city-state ends its eight-week long ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown and gradually brings its economy back to life, although ‘working from home’ will remain the default, restaurants and hawker centres will be only allowed to serve take-away meals, and masks must be worn at all times in public.
Visitors are still not allowed to enter Singapore, however, and leisure travel for residents is also banned.
International travel is expected to reopen for Australians to New Zealand in the third quarter of this year under a joint trans-Tasman bubble, which may include other Pacific Island nations such as Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
“We are both very keen on it … across both sides of the ditch,” says NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “It won’t be too long before we are ready.”
Government and airport officials, airlines and health specialists have been shaping the joint plan, which is expected to be tabled by the end of June, although it’s yet to be determined if travellers would require some form of ‘immunity passport’ such as a negative test for COVID-19.
Greece has also invited Australia to join a global travel bubble of trusted countries from which it will accept visitors as of June 15 as part of the country’s ‘Restart Tourism’ plan.
Participation in the ‘Aegean air corridor’ would require approval by the Australian government, as well as state governments with border restrictions, and the lifting of the current mandatory 14-day quarantine imposed on all inbound travellers.