Australia and Singapore have agreed to build a quarantine-free travel bubble between the two countries, similar to Australia’s existing one with New Zealand.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with Singapore leader Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday on his way to the G7 summit to be held in Cornwall, UK. , ”According to a joint statement.
“It’s still a while before we reach the milestone,” Morrison told reporters in Singapore.
“But there is nothing stopping us from implementing the systems that could create such a bubble between Singapore and Australia.”
Defense Minister Peter Dutton said he hoped the travel bubble could open “as soon as possible”.
“It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but let’s work on it as soon as possible,” he told Nine News on Friday.
Dutton said students from Singapore would enjoy preference to return to Australia once the travel bubble is built.
“This is a big industry for Australia,” he said. “International student numbers have dried up, to see that the start will be important again, and there are many Australian jobs shutting down the industry.”
However, the Singapore prime minister suggested that the travel bubble should not be built until most people in both countries get vaccinated.
Lee said at the joint media conference that the bubble would need mutual recognition of vaccination certificates to get started.
“When we are ready, we can start small with an air travel bubble to create trust on both sides,” he said.
So far Australia has applied about 5.4 million vaccineswhich is left behind in Singapore, with less than half of the adult population of 4.7 million people fully vaccinated.
The leaders signed a new memorandum of understanding on health and health technologies and agreed to establish a $ 30 million partnership to accelerate the deployment of low-emission and clean-tech fuels to reduce emissions in maritime and port operations. .
The two parties also shared their concerns about the station in Myanmar and agreed that ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) could play an important role in facilitating a peaceful solution for the country.
AAP contributed to this report.