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Australia to permit quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated Singaporeans


Australia to permit quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated Singaporeans

Photo: Brendan Thorne/Bloomberg

Beginning today, fully vaccinated travellers from Singapore will be permitted to enter Australia without quarantining.

The move comes as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison champions a national border reopening plan strongly criticized by several Australian states. These tensions are evident today as only the two largest states—New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria—began accepting quarantine-free travellers from Singapore.

Canberra’s hope that all Australian states will open their domestic and international borders by Christmas is highly unlikely. Only NSW, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory allow quarantine-free travel into Australia. All other states and territories still require varying levels of quarantine restrictions for international returnees. Western Australia (WA) and Tasmania are not likely to open borders until early 2022.

At issue are fundamental differences in strategies between Canberra and those states—including WA and Queensland—which successfully employed elimination strategies for COVID-19. Those states are nervous about reopening, partly because of their low vaccination rates. However, Morrison strongly advocates for the suppression strategies employed by NSW and Victoria. Given Australia’s federal system, Canberra cannot force states to open borders, but expect increasing tensions into 2022 between Morrison and WA, especially, given WA’s refusal to open even internal borders until early February.

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