Singapore bubble “ready to go by the end of the year”

Are you up for some satay, chilli crab and Tiger beer?

By David Flynn, September 8 2021
Singapore bubble “ready to go by the end of the year”

Federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan expects an Australia-Singapore travel bubble will open by December, marking the return of quarantine-free travel to one of Australia's most popular business and leisure destinations.

Speaking at a webinar hosted last night by MP for Wentworth Dave Sharma, Tehan said there was a commitment for a bubble with Singapore to be "ready to go by the end of the year."

This is the latest indication of travel confidence for the bustling Asian city-state, and comes as Qantas pencils in December 18 for the first regular Sydney-Singapore flight since March 2020, alongside a restart of flights to London and Los Angeles.

As previously reported, the Australian government plans to begin issuing ‘international Covid-19 vaccination certificates’ from October.

These would not only provide proof of vaccination but also allow mutual recognition of vaccines – considered essential to establishing international travel bubbles – as not all countries have approved or issued the same shots.

For example, while both Australia and Singapore approved vaccines from Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna, Singapore didn't roll out the AstraZeneca shot widely used in Australia, while Australia has not approved the SinoVac/CoronaVac jab issued in Singapore.

Read more: Could the Travel Pass app become Australia’s vaccination passport?

Other bubbles underway

As to other travel bubble destinations, which unlike 'low-risk' countries would not require any hotel or home quarantine, Tehan also said there had also been some "very serious discussions with some of the Pacific Island nations."

Fiji is likely to be top of this list, as it's already preparing to welcome back Australians from December.

Tehan also name-checked South Korea, Japan, the UK and USA as keen travel bubble candidates, with New Zealand also prepared to restart the trans-Tasman bubble under its own terms and on its own timeline.

More promisingly, Tehan reaffirmed that Australians would be largely free to fly off to anywhere in the world after the 80% vaccination milestone was reached in November, in accordance with the government's Covid-19 Response Plan.

"The national plan is incredibly important, because once we get to that 80% vaccination rate, and it’s 80% in a particular state and 80% across the nation – so if one state is lagging that does not hold up the national plan – that will allow international outbound travel to resume," he said.

However, only destinations operating under a designated travel bubble arrangement would permit Australians to return without undergoing any form of quarantine.

Also read: How to add a Covid-19 vaccination card to your smartphone

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

26 Mar 2020

Total posts 40

However, only destinations operating under a designated travel bubble arrangement would permit Australians to return without undergoing any form of quarantine.

I thought about this the other day - the new world of international travel will be a minefield of researching restrictions for each country.

For example if you travelled to Singapore and then on to Thailand (Phuket) and Singapore has a travel lane with Thailand but Australia does not - to avoid spending 14 days in hotel quarantine upon return to Australia - you may choose to spend the 14 days in Singapore after coming back instead - to then become "eligible again" to fly back home under the travel corridor between Singapore and Australia and only have to serve home quarantine, 

i guess my point is travel will come increasing complex - I can see someone creating a new app where travellers simply input their travels and it tells them where they can and cant go with/without quarantine etc 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 4

Website already exists https://covidcontrols.co/ - put your travel history for the last 14 days and the map changes dynamically. Also links to Timatic for all the up to date regulations. Been invaluable for me travelling throughout this mess.

18 Jul 2018

Total posts 34

So basically it's what Aussies had to pay attention to domestically, only at an international level?

Speaking as someone who got 'caught out' and spent 14 days in Queensland in mid 2020 before being able to re-enter SA after a NSW trip. Then in 2021 having to schedule business trips with 14 day 'gaps' to avoid needing to re-enter or enter specific states when restrictions were changing weekly...

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

I don't understand Australia's reluctance to allow Aussies to fly to Phuket. Phuket is 70% double vaccinated (OK, mostly with the Chinese Sinovac) and vaccination is a condition of entry for the Phuket sandbox in effect since July 1.

I think it's a political move as a result of Australia's war of words with the Chinese, and thus Thailand is indirectly punished too. Had Phuket vaccinated mostly with AZ, then Aussies would probably be allowed to visit there.

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 214

Bring it on, the more bubbles we have for fully vaccinated travellers the better! Singapore and NZ plus a few Pacific destinations like Fiji and Noumea would be brilliant options for Dec-Jan.

GoRobin Banned
GoRobin Banned

07 May 2020

Total posts 151

Oh, I heard that story before somewhere. I wonder how anyone could be discussing such a "bubble" with Singapore when their covid cases are climbing rapidly. Does anybody check these details? Or perhaps by some miracle the Singapore covid infections will go away in time to meet the bubble plan date!

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 186

Of course we are discussing a bubble, most people here welcome it. We cannot stay in a cave forever. And please, don't start talking about potential death, blah blah blah!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 May 2020

Total posts 24

Because as populations get higher vaccination rates the number of cases becomes less relevant as the illness would be milder amongst the vaccinated.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

We can only hope that Singapore will really start to implement the "living with Covid" strategy they've been boasting about, before Thailand, Vietnam and Australia started repeating the same thing a few weeks later. So far none of these countries have started practicing what they preach. Perhaps 2022 will be different.

Australia for it's part, needs to lift the outbound travel ban. Only a lucky few are allowed to depart Australia and until this regulation is removed (along with the quarantine requirement) then travel to Singapore or anywhere else, whether as part of a travel bubble or a general easing of travel restrictions remains a pipe dream for the majority of people.

I'm cautiously optimistic that things will improve as we head into 2022, but we've seen the goalposts shifted so many times I'm starting to lose hope. I don't see myself getting back to my business until maybe July 2022 or later, provided SE Asian countries finally open up their land borders, lift the quarantines and remove all the bureaucracy. This will mean an absence of over 2 years and this is the best case scenario. Time lost I can't get back. Luckily, I have a team who has managed operations alright, but without my presence and/or that of my boss, things just don't work very well.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 99

We've been here before and this song is getting old. So please forgive me for not popping the corks until I see those jets actually lifting off the runway northbound. Not being sarcastic or cynical. Just tired and cautious because anything can happen between now and then. After all, we are dealing with two antagonistic levels of gov't in Australia; unlike Singapore which very sensibly has only one level of real gov't.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1272

Exactly. Let's not put up the bunting just yet.

04 Nov 2020

Total posts 14

Totally agree. And even if the jets take off, let’s see what happens within the first 3-4 weeks of operating the bubbles. Ops, new cases, let’s shut the whole bloody thing down again, and back to square one 🙈

I hope it goes ahead and works out well, but it’s too early to be too optimistic unfortunately 

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

@Kenneth, if the short-lived Australia-New Zealand travel bubble is anything to go by, that's exactly what could happen. I can't predict the future, but if this "Zero Covid" madness isn't abandoned, then I predict within 3 months at the latest, this bubble will burst once again.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 May 2017

Total posts 13

To all those still counting cases, I recommend stop reading the newspapers or you will spend the rest of your lives in lockdown! Or I will ask, how many cases of influenza today?  The answer: who knows???  Should be the same for COVID.   Singapore has the right idea about no longer reporting daily cases and just reporting hospitalisations or fatalities.  

09 Sep 2021

Total posts 16

Well, as someone who won't take the jab, I guess my wonderful travel days are over ( hopefully temporarily ).

No complaints or crying in my tea cup, I accept the way it is ( Very much don't agree, but I accept the way it is ).

A couple of thoughts, what happens when the vaccinated start suffering from deep vein thrombosis on long haul flights. After all, blood clots are a "rare" side effect of vaccines.

How reliable are these planes after sitting ideal for so many months, have they all been continually serviced?

I miss travel more than anyone, but I think I'll sit this out for now.

06 Feb 2021

Total posts 37

Hi,

The blood clots that an extremely low number of people have got as a result of the AZ vaccine are not the same type of clot as those caused by DVT.  The vaccine related clots are an allergic reaction to something in the vaccine, and will occur within a reasonably short space of time after receiving the vaccine.  Assuming you have had the vaccine at least a month before travelling, then the risk of getting a blood clot from the vaccine during the flight is negligible, I would say probably non-existent.  Read the sub-section in this article headed "What if you've a history of blood clots ?"

Over 60 and waiting for the Pfizer COVID vaccine? You could die waiting - ABC News

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

I totally agree IMissTravel and I'm in the same boat. I suggest you look at the fine print once travel does resume though. It could be that those who agree to be tested will be allowed to travel after all, but governments don't want to tell you that as the goal is to get as many people jabbed as possible.

Governments promising travel only if you're fully vaccinated is a bit of a false promise. Israel, one of the most vaccinated countries in the world has closed it's borders again even if you're fully vaccinated. Sweden and Portugal have banned Israelis, no matter their vaccination status for the time being, due to a surge in cases. And people still think they'll be allowed to travel if they're vaccinated. LOL.

Phuket, Thailand, is only just starting to allow vaccinated and tested domestic tourists back in. For about a month, only those with an exemption were allowed in, even if they were fully vaccinated and tested. Throughout this time, overseas arrivals could come, but not domestic ones. Note that you must be tested too - merely being vaccinated is not enough. Apparently they're about to allow unvaccinated people back in, but they must do a rapid test on arrival at the bridge (not applicable to those who fly in, who must continue to be vaccinated and tested).

By the time international travel from Australia does become possible, it won't last for those with just 2 jabs. Expect a third booster dose to be required, 3-6 months after travel resumes. Then a 4th booster a few months after that. Those who are missing their boosters will be treated the same as fully unvaccinated.

If it gets that far.

Eventually, the house of cards will fall. I'll wait this one out too. Even if it means having to wait out all of 2022 and possibly much of 2023 too.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 186

Whatever it takes, many if not most will be very keen to travel again. For those that choose not to do so, no problem. Leave the rest of us to get on with our travel bubble flights to Singapore and don't waste your breath telling us we are wrong to do so. 

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

Only thing is Richard, you won't be allowed to enter any premises without testing every 24 hours since your Aussie vaccination certificate won't be recognized in Singapore. Singapore's health pass is widely used almost everywhere in the country. Only hawker centres and public transport don't use it.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 186

That’s not true. I work in Singapore. I just returned. Your facts are just wrong. 

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

Richard, who are you talking to? I hope it's not me.

I have verified that the health pass is in place and only recognises Singapore issued vaccine certificates. Check my post below, which links to the Strait Times article that confirms this. Foreigners not vaccinated in Singapore need to test every 24 hours or make do with take away, hawker centres or other venues that don't use this pass.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 186

I just returned. I work in Singapore each month. All I can relate is my experience. I was fully vaccinated in Australia and my certificate was accepted at all times. 

25 Mar 2021

Total posts 12

The planes are continually serviced. Depending how deeply they were stored they can be receiving a similar amount of hours each week of maintenance. More deeply stored aircraft have less per week maintenance but require more time to put them into and out of storage. Just like the rest of aviation there are many procedures, checklists and protocols for the maintenance of stored aircraft.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 186

No problem, that's your choice but I am happy to see you are accepting that it is your choice alone as it is for us that want to be vaccinated and travel. 

31 Aug 2021

Total posts 4

It won't happen.  Cases are rising rapidly in Singapore and restrictions being reintroduced.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 186

It will happen. The world is opening up. Economically it needs to and so it will. Money has a louder voice than some ill health.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

I wouldn't call what's happening an "opening up". It's a very limited reopening, with strict conditions that deters most. Until all restrictions are lifted, then we're a long way away from normal. At this point, we're not even close to a situation where say a vaccinated person (let alone an unvaccinated person) can just get on a plane and enter another country, maskless and without requiring quarantine, testing or a certificate of entry or any other bureaucratic procedures like in 2019 or the first quarter of 2020.

Some limited travel within Europe and some other regions aside, international travel continues to be highly restrictive.

It is hoped that this will change by early 2022, but I wouldn't get my hopes up too much. I'll believe it when I see it.

GoRobin Banned
GoRobin Banned

07 May 2020

Total posts 151

Oh so touchy. Don't mention that the fully vaccinated nation of Singapore is having a covid infection explosion. Nothing like the truth to spoil a good story. Pop goes the bubble.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 186

We are opening up and some people don't like that. They will be left behind.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

Foreign vaccine certificates aren't recognised. Foreigners such as Aussies who haven't been vaccinated in Singapore will be treated like the unvaccinated - a test every 24 hours is needed to dine-in at restaurants, enter malls and generally go about your day. Only hawker centres and public transport doesn't require the health pass.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 186

That’s false. I am fully vaccinated here in Australia and have just returned from Singapore where I work. My certificate was accepted everywhere. 

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

So you're saying the Strait Times is disseminating fake news? They claimed foreign vaccination certificates aren't valid.

25 Jun 2021

Total posts 19

How is this going to work, when you can fly say to Singapore form NSW, but cant fly to NSW from QLD. Can QLD premier continue to change the goal posts under the emergency powers act? Who's doing the checks and balances?

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 99

No meaningful checks and balances on state powers, unfortunately. Our constitutional forebears from 1890 at the Australasian Federation Conference in Melbourne, and for the rest of that decade leading to Federation in 1901 did not envisage that power-hungry megalomaniacs would ever come into elected office in a British style parliamentary liberal democracy like ours (and Canada's and New Zealand's). Therefore, they reserved a lot of powers at the state level instead of vesting it at the new federal level.

Oh, what wishful thinking to imagine that no petty dictators would arise in Australian states....

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

08 May 2020

Total posts 21

Crystal ball gazing by the likes of Alan Joyce, the boss of Flight Centre and all those that write travel related articles. Singapore has announced several stop/start travel lanes / travel bubbles. I read Delta variant is on the rise and on upward trend in Singapore as of Sept. 9?  Phuket's  "Sandbox" re-opening is not going so well; I thought Fiji didn't exactly have COVID situation under control there either?  And what about the "how to get BACK into Australia"  bit in regards to actually getting a seat on a flight into Aust. and what sort of quarantine arrangements are there on return?  As much as I miss my trips away I can't see myself booking anything for the rest of 2021  ) :

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

Yes Phuket sandbox not going so well but not terribly either. It's a start. They need to reduce the number of tests and their pricing, and re-open all businesses then it will go much better.

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 69

Strange selection of possible travel countries. America on the list - with raging Covid again - but no Canada.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

Even though you might be able to travel to Singapore from Australia as part of this bubble by year's end if you've been vaccinated (although the previous one way arrangement didn't require vaccination for Aussies to enter Singapore) you won't be able to go dining, enter a gym or a mall because Singapore only accepts locally administered vaccinations.

You may be allowed to use these services if you get tested. Such certificates are only valid for 24 hours, so you'll be doing a lot of testing!

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/askst-if-i-am-not-vaccinated-but-have-tested-negative-for-covid-19-can-i-still-eat

In short, if you're coming from Australia and are vaccinated, you can enter Singapore, but unless you get tested daily, you'll only be allowed to order take away or dine at hawker centres!

04 Nov 2020

Total posts 14

Sorry to say TheFreqFlyer, but you seem very stubborn and believe the article you are referring to in the Straitstime is 100% correct and telling the truth, and nothing but the truth, even though Richard W several times have told you, it’s wrong. He is talking from personal experience, so knows what is the real deal. Why do you want to “scare” people and keep saying they have to test every 24 hours, if it isn’t the case?

You say you are referring to the facts, but is that “facts” from the before mentioned article, or which facts?

Not trying to be rude or anything, but I for sure know what information I would trust, and that would be personal experience from everyday life, over a newspaper article.

Just saying 😎

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

Richard is the one being stubborn. If the Strait Times says that foreign vaccine certificates aren't accepted due to verification issues, then I accept that at face value.

He may have been lucky because the venues he visited decided to accept his foreign documents, but it pays to be safe than sorry. Like I said though one can still dine at hawker centres or order take away without needing to be vaccinated or tested.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

One final comment I'd like to make.

Maybe I wasn't being as tactful as I normally am and spoke too soon, but here goes. Generally I don't trust the media at all as I have made clear over the course of this "pandemic". There are topics that need to be taken with a grain of salt (such as any reporting related to Covid, whether it's the efficacy and safety of vaccines, the numbers and whether masks and lockdowns work) but I don't want to get off topic here and talk about that. The media likes to spin things to advance a particular agenda, when it comes to certain topics. Funnily enough people like you take such reporting at face value without verifying anything for yourself, but don't trust the experiences or opinion of someone who isn't quoted by the media, if they contradict the government version. I wonder why that is?

I do believe when the media tries to inform us about a new local rule, then they're probably doing so in good faith. If they weren't, then we can stop reading the news altogether.

Why would the Singaporean media say foreign vaccine certificates aren't accepted, someone says they are, and then we're supposed to trust one person's experience over government policy? If there were 1000 people who had the same experience as Richard, then I would say something is not right.

Richard probably got lucky. 10 food outlets in Singapore who did NOT verify vaccination status were forced to shut down by the government for 7-14 days recently. This obviously proves that not every outlet is following the government policy to the letter and thus if caught accepting a foreign vaccine certificate, such outlets could be shut down too.

I think it's irresponsible for people to suggest just because they were able to gain access to facilities using this "health pass" with an Australian vaccination certificate, that everyone will, when the Strait Times, quoting government sources, are suggesting the exact opposite.

Anyway, with so few Aussies who normally reside in Australia and have been vaccinated in Australia present in Singapore, there will be few who can corroborate the experiences of Richard W. Should that change by December when the vaccinated travel lane starts, and more positive experiences come to light, we'll see who's right. With this scheme still being rather new, things could change at anytime. They might loosen or tighten enforcement. All remains to be seen.

The whole health pass issue is fraught with problems, among which there are ethical and moral ones such as discrimination and the creation of a two-tier society. It's also impractical, so I can't see the scheme being in place anymore once normal tourism and business travel resumes. How would you be able to verify vaccination certificates from 200 different countries issued in dozens of different languages? It's simply not going to happen. In many countries you can buy a certificate and don't need to get the shot, which defeats the purpose of the whole thing.

One point made in that article raised the question of how long this discriminatory scheme will remain in place with the answer being "12-18 months". I have my doubts about. Denmark just lifted it's own health pass and many of the others, such as those in British Columbia and Quebec, Canada, have an end date of late January 2022 unless extended. Common sense prevailed and the UK decided not to impose one.

I personally believe that after 6-9 months, most countries will drop their health passes as they will become redundant, especially once most people have been vaccinated and travel re-opens. I am confident that will apply also to Singapore.

04 Nov 2020

Total posts 14

Point taken, if aimed at me 😎 If information is received from media or personal experience, it all needs to be taken with some common sense and put into perspective. Generally I don’t trust the media too much, as some copy paste from another media, without doing their own research. But that is just me 😎

Let’s hope all (most) countries and their governments are coming to their senses soon, so we all can enjoy some “danish” freedom.

As Singapore will only allow entry to vaccinated travellers I expect you will just have to show a stamped (travel) passport if they continue with requiring proof of vaccination for venues. Much simpler than checking different nations' certificates. This would push verification to the C&I stage where staff can be more adequately trained.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

@Kenneth, indeed and well said. That's what I was trying to convey in my longish reply.

Let's hope that in time, we can all experience Danish style freedom again.

@Canberraflyer, it is not true that Singapore only accepts vaccinated travellers. In fact, under the terms of the "vaccinated travel lane" with Germany and Brunei, some restrictions are more stringent than those who arrive under the normal entry conditions that have been established for arrivals into Singapore from these countries.

A traveller from Germany under the vaccinated travel lane or VTL will not be allowed to board their flight to Singapore if they test positive for at least 21 days. A Singaporean returning under normal conditions (who could be unvaccinated) does not need to be tested prior to getting on their flight. The one difference is they will need to serve a 7-day stay home notice, whereas the vaccinated person won't. However, the vaccinated individual will need to be tested 4 times, the unvaccinated person 2-3 times. 

I believe this scheme to require proof of vaccination or testing to enter venues will be lifted by the time mass travel resumes. Therefore, it is a moot point to speculate on how they will check foreign certificates because by the time any significant volume of travel is permitted, the scheme will no longer be in place.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 23

I don't think what the federal government is proposing is anywhere near what Singapore or UK 'opening up' kind of scenario. It simply says that it may allow quarantine-free travel to certain destinations considered safe, and for those fully vaccinated, the overseas travel ban may be lifted. For the former, it is kinda low-risk but definitely fragile as our trans-tasman bubble demonstrated; for the latter, it is long long long overdue, many countries do not have such an overseas travel exit ban (even NZ doesn't have such a rule, as far as I know).

The federal government still limits the number of incoming international passengers, so I don't see how this will have much impact on domestic COVID cases - though I bet some state government will start using this as an excuse for 'overwhelmed quarantine' facility (an argument that doesn't make sense imo. As far as the quotas has not been increased, I don't see how the quarantine system can be 'overwhelmed' - but our public is very gullible unfortunately).

I truly welcome the lifting of overseas travel ban (exit) whole-heartedy - it is a policy that never makes sense to me. I am sure plenty of people would be willing to do 2-week hotel quarantine when they return to Australia if this means they can travel out.

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 69

I think the argument for NSW's cutting its quota by another 50% was that a lot of medical personnel are needed to staff the quarantine hotels and they are now needed to help with the Covid outbreak in Sydney. I certainly don't recall large numbers of *medical* staff when I was in hotel quarantine, but I guess the optics are what's important.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 186

I have not seen any medical staff while I did 2 stints in hotel quarantine apart from Covid testers. But I believe these were not being diverted from hospitals, just trained to take tests. 

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

Some might, but few are willing to spend 2 weeks in confinement upon their return. The majority of Aussies wishing to leave the country are those with family or business/work ties abroad, who are not in any rush to return. For many of them, it's a one way trip.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 186

I have done it twice and about to make it three. Your thoughts and way of living and thinking are not how others choose to live. 

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

That's because you're either a masochist or your company pays for your quarantine. 99% of people, whether tourists or business travellers, won't go anywhere if they have to quarantine. Quarantine is why tourism is down 99% in most Asia-Pacific countries and business travel is down by a similar percentage.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 186

Not everyone thinks like you. I know many people who are travelling a lot. 

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

What are you talking about? I don't appreciate your passive aggressive tone. I'm stating facts. It's not about what I think like, it's reality. Travel is down 99% in Asia-Pacific relative to 2019 levels. This is true for EVERY Asia-Pacific country, whether it's Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, even Australia.

Some people are travelling, out of necessity. Travel isn't completely impossible, but it's very complicated. If you're based in Australia and leave for business/work, you're going to be out of the country for a bare minimum of like 3 weeks. You can't just fly to Singapore or Hong Kong for 2-3 days and then come back home like in the past.

Until quarantine is removed completely, we're not going back to normal and the vast majority of people won't travel unless necessary. Period.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

The other thing is, how do you get back to Australia? Where I am now, I'd have to get approval from the Australian embassy to fly back, even though there are regular flights to Aus (roughly 2-3 flights a week) because the embassy has to ensure there are seats available since only 30 people are allowed per flight.

You can't just book a flight and go.

I won't be returning to Australia until the quarantine is gone and I can arrive and depart like I could in 2019.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 186

Definitely. I have done it twice. Easy. Not a problem. 

Richard W, I would like to fly - and I could probably get a work-related exemption to do so - but the process for actually becoming one of the passengers who gets accepted incoming to Australia (not bumped two days before due to return) is incredibly opaque and has put me off travelling. I simply can't afford to be stranded overseas and would want to have a guaranteed ability to return. It is certainly not "easy".

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

Exactly. I can't help but feel Richard lives in some kind of bubble, pretending it's easy when it's not. Clearly someone is paying for his quarantine and the downtime he has to spend in quarantine upon returning home. As you say, even getting permission to leave is the first difficult step. The majority of people who receive permission are individuals leaving the country long-term, not those going on a "quick" business trip, which will be at least 3 weeks long (a few days for the trip and then 2 weeks in quarantine on the way back home).

GoRobin Banned
GoRobin Banned

07 May 2020

Total posts 151

quantumreality...just to be clear. The quarantine regulations for incoming travellers to Australia are all regulated at a state level under each state's Health Orders. There is no federal regulation regarding quarantine requirements, and as such there is very little consistency between states. So that will be the biggest hurdle for opening up to international travel. Even if the Prime Minister and Captain Joyce say "we're open", the ease of getting back into a particular state will depend upon the quarantine regulations of that state. I am sure it will be a big mess and a big deterent for many people considering going on an international trip.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

Every state has the same 14 day regulation in place though. So even if the quarantine system is regulated at the state level, for all intents and purposes they're all the same. I don't see where there is any "inconsistency". All of them are identical from what I can tell, other than the number of daily arrivals they accept from overseas. No state has a 21 day quarantine or only a 7 day quarantine. They all follow each other like sheep.

The one exception (and this is brand new) is South Australia's home quarantine trial for vaccinated returnees. For nearly 18 months, every state and territory imposed the same 14 day quarantine. Unlike the USA, where throughout 2020 only 6 or 7 out of the 50 states had any sort of quarantine requirement and none at the federal level, Australian states and territories all follow one another.

I wish there were one state that said: "enough with this quarantine nonsense, let's just let everyone in". But I don't see that happening. They all followed each other at the beginning and once the home quarantine trial is over, they'll quickly follow each other there and eventually, all states and territories will open up and remove quarantine altogether, probably on the same day, when the time comes.

GoRobin Banned
GoRobin Banned

07 May 2020

Total posts 151

TheFeqFlyer....the big question is, will each Health Minister in each state change their Health Orders in unison. Thats seems like a very optimistic wish given the current state of affairs in ech state.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

Who knows, but I can't imagine they wouldn't...when the time comes. Otherwise, suppose Queensland were open without quarantine but NSW still required it, then 99% of travellers will simply fly into Queensland and avoid NSW.

09 Sep 2021

Total posts 16

I agree with you TheFreqFlyer... all too hard !

My husband and I have had the huge pleasure of travelling the world over many years. We loved every minute of it ( even the annoying rules etc ) We have never, ever needed to vaccinate ( I know many who have, just to be on the safe side) and I fully respect that. Now, since Covid madness , we truly DO NOT want to go through all this rigmarole. Testing, waiting , uncertainty , quarantine, blah blah blah. Not to mention the No Jab, No Fly rule. 

I would sell my left kidney for a chance to travel overseas again ( actually, Interstate would be nice too ) but boy, waaaaayyyy too hard !

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

With some rare exceptions like yellow fever certificates (or contraindication to vaccination) required in some Latin American/African countries for entry or exit, as well as some Asian countries if having been in these countries in the previous 6/10 days, then vaccination has not been a pre-requisite to enter any country since the WHO declared smallpox as eradicated in 1980.

Travel medical clinics and websites like to scare travellers into getting shots claiming they're "required" but this is simply not the case. I once had a travel vaccine or two, years and years ago and all I got out of it were side effects. Not once have I ever been required to show proof of this. My yellow WHO vaccination booklet was brushed aside by immigration in Thailand, Vietnam and other countries so many times I stopped carrying it altogether once I realised there were no actual requirements on the statute books other than the yellow fever ones I've mentioned, which would only apply at airports if I had actually arrived from those countries.

Sure, you have some very specific ones like vaccinations required to conduct the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, but I'm not Muslim so that will never apply to me! Similarly, in late 2019 several Pacific island territories instituted temporary MMR vaccine or exemption requirements for entry in response to the Samoa measles outbreak that occurred in September 2019, when the whole country was mass vaccinated. I wouldn't be surprised if that requirement has since been lifted as all the focus now is on Covid.

Unfortunately, with the way the goalposts have been shifted, I don't think even those who've chosen to get vaccinated to travel will be able to just hop on a plane and go, as if it were 2019, with just this one additional requirement. Most readers of this online magazine seem to believe this will occur in 2022. I personally doubt it.

If Singapore and Phuket are anything to go by, expect to have 4 Covid tests conducted despite being fully vaccinated, as part of the entry requirements, if you stay 14 days or longer. One of these is pre-arrival, the second one is at the airport post arrival, and then there are 2 more.

I'm still cautiously optimistic that the "no jab no fly" rule will eventually be rescinded (technically, it's not actually in place yet) and that at some point we'll see a return to relatively normal travel. As long as the WHO doesn't declare the pandemic as over, then I have my doubts things will get much better. In my opinion, if things go really well, perhaps late 2022, though more likely in 2023, travel can once again proceed as we've known it. The key is to remain patient.

09 Sep 2021

Total posts 16

I also believe that eventually travel , particularly overseas travel will one day become "almost" normal. Yes, I am willing to wait for that day. Luckly I have my wonderful memories and photos to remind me of days gone by.

I wish all the fully vaccinated all the best on their future travels. You all did what you were told and now you will be " rewarded"

Bon Voyage!

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

Absolutely!

I'm afraid however that the fully vaccinated will not enjoy travel freedoms like they're hoping for. I'm seeing more and more testing requirements for this group of individuals (4 PCR tests are required for fully vaccinated persons entering the Phuket and Samui plus sandboxes in Thailand and Singapore under the vaccinated travel lanes). This includes one pre-departure test, one on arrival and 2 more before the first 14 days are up. I think this is what awaits travellers at the beginning. Stringent restrictions including mandatory mask wearing and track and trace applications, as well as health passes to access certain services are also in place in many countries, including Singapore and soon, Australia.

Later on, restrictions will be loosened, starting with fewer PCR tests, but that probably won't be before July 2022. At some stage, I predict they'll allow unvaccinated travellers to cross borders, starting with certain "low risk" countries and expanding out, over the course of time. I can wait for that day to come too.

In the meantime, I have the same wonderful memories of my travels as you do, whether it was for business or pleasure (or both), it was all very memorable. Lots of photographs and video footage. I also like to watch travel videos shot pre-Covid, to make me forget about the world we're living in.

I even have dreams about travel returning to normal with me going on a trip. Then upon waking up, I feel like I'm still asleep...like this can't be real. We really are living in the twilight zone.

06 Feb 2021

Total posts 37

Unless there is a dramatic reduction in the number of Covid cases world wide to the level of insignificant on every continent, I would not be holding my breathe waiting to fly internationally if unvaccinated.  (And keeping your vaccination status up to date with boosters on a regular basis. )  This virus could be with us for four or five years at least.  I'd say there is more likelyhood of people eventually not being allowed to fly domestically if they're unvaccinated.   

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

I would not hold my breath that you'll be allowed to travel freely even if vaccinated anytime soon.

I've already twice given the same examples of what other countries in the region are doing and I can guarantee you that Australia will be doing similar things. They've already stated that home quarantine will be required at first. You won't be allowed to just exit the airport and go about your day as you could do back at the beginning of 2020. Same as Phuket and Samui - they want you to book 7-14 days at a hotel when you arrive, no matter if you're a local or returning expat and that you're vaccinated and will be swab tested at least 3 times (plus the first test you got before getting on the plane). Phu Quoc in Vietnam is undoubtedly going to require something very similar when they reopen in November.

A lot of people are being very naive here. There will probably come a point where you'll need to have 3 or 4 shots in order to fly (and that will be next year), but you may be surprised at how quickly all of this may blow over.

Viruses don't miraculously disappear and having authoritarian restrictions in place only serves to reinforce control governments have over their citizens. It has nothing to do with science. After all, when was the last time a flu outbreak caused borders to close for 18 months, with continuous mask mandates in place in some countries since then? In 2003 during SARS, the only restrictions in place where in Guangdong and Hong Kong. I travelled between Australia and Asia multiple times that year (and in 2004) and also within SE Asia, I didn't encounter any restrictions whatsoever. Borders were wide open, there was no mask wearing and no push to get vaccinated.

If there's enough pushback (and it's growing fast) then we could definitely see a return to relative normality sooner rather than later. I personally don't believe that will happen for at least a good 12 months and possibly 18-24 months, but I can assure you the global economy won't survive 4-5 years of more restrictions.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

Australia is moving towards the establishment of domestic vaccine passports (or certificates) and Western Australia already requires vaccines from NSW residents. Therefore, to board a flight from Sydney to Perth, you need to be vaccinated.

It's not a case of "eventually" as in the distant future, but a case of 2-3 months before vaccines could be required to board a plane to cross state borders in Australia. There will be major pushback from passengers, and it probably won't go on for too long, but if it happens, it will happen very soon and be in place for around 6 months. Denmark recently lifted it's health pass after being in place for 6 months, but they were also among the first countries to introduce it (alongside Israel).

09 Sep 2021

Total posts 16

Yes, over the years we have travelled extensively. Malaysia was always our go to country. Lot's of shopping in KL and of course amazing food. From there, we flew to many parts of the world... Mauritius , Istanbul , Thailand , Vietnam , Bali and countless other wonderful countries.

During all those trips, Sars , Ebola , HIV Aids etc was floating around. Were we EVER asked to mask up, have a vaccination, denied travel... NEVER.

Something just doesn't seem right with this whole Covid19 thing. Believe me, I'm the least conspiracy theorist in the world. Just a gut feeling.

25 Mar 2021

Total posts 12

Last time I checked HIV is pretty difficult to pass on and catch without some level on consensual activity between people. Not going to catch it from being in the same room as someone.

Likewise Ebola isn't aerosol or airborne, so again needs contact with bodily fluids.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 487

I wouldn't worry about the "conspiracy theorist" label. That's just an ad hominem used to attack free thinkers who don't follow the government narrative. It's gotten so bad now that while one year ago, anyone who talked about "vaccine passports" was a "deranged conspiracy theorist" now that they're being implemented suddenly it's only the "crazies" who don't want them and no apologies for the name calling of last year.

For me, my main base has always been Thailand. From there, I would travel to other countries in the region, including Malaysia. For business reasons, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and southern China are the countries (in addition to Thailand) where I would spend most of my time. I've been to Singapore many times too, as well as Jakarta and Bali and basically every country in the region with the exception of the Philippines and Brunei.

I miss that. Unfortunately, even the jabbed don't have ready access to these countries either. That may change in the coming months (probably around January).

I hope that even if quarantine free travel is only for the jabbed at first, a simplified entry protocol will be a step in the right direction towards loosening the restrictions that have been in place for 18 months now. I think over time it will allow the unvaccinated to travel freely like we once knew it too.

09 Sep 2021

Total posts 16

Yes Karit, I agree that HIV or Ebola may only be transmitted via bodily fluids, but the point is... they are still contagious and perhaps life threatening. Have you ever considered that the person on the plane sitting next to you may have had Hepatitis or Meningitis ? Highly doubt it , because we weren't TOLD to look out for that or be afraid. Therefore, we all just lived our lives without the suspicion or fear. We travelled for pleasure or business or both and long boring flights were just part of the journey.

All I ask is that we bring those feelings back and be allowed to travel freely with or without the magic potion.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2548

You're completely overlooking the fact that we now have Covid in our midst - a disease that's easily spread without even direct bodily contact – so no matter how much we'd all like to be back in those good old days, it's not going to happen, and if you can't understand why vaccination (not a 'magic potion') will be necessary for our best chance of returning to that pre-Covid life, including travel, then I simply don't know what to say. You can ask and ask all you want for a return to the good old days, but that's not going to change the reality of this.

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