askST: Can Singaporeans travel to Australia?

For most states, travellers must isolate until a Covid-19 test is taken within 24 hours of arrival. New South Wales requires additional testing on or after day six of arrival. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - On Monday (Feb 7), Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia will fully reopen its borders from Feb 21 to all travellers, such as tourists and students, who hold visas and are double-vaccinated.

This ends a two-year closure since March 2020 when the country shut its borders to mitigate against the surging Covid-19 pandemic.

It later started to gradually ease its border restrictions, such as starting travel bubbles with countries like Singapore.

But even with the latest announcement by Australia, travellers will still need to be wary of travel and testing rules, which can vary by state.

The Straits Times answers some questions on Australia's border restrictions, such as which states are open and who can travel there.

Q: Can Singaporeans travel to Australia?

Eligible citizens of Singapore who are fully vaccinated have already been able to travel to some parts of Australia without seeking a travel exemption under a travel bubble between Singapore and Australia.

The arrangement, which kicked in from Nov 21, allows for quarantine-free travel to participating Australian states and territories. Travellers, however, need to adhere to certain requirements, such as undertaking the required Covid-19 tests and flying directly from Singapore to Australia without any transit in between.

From Feb 21, Australia will further ease its border measures by allowing all fully vaccinated visa holders to travel to Australia without seeking a travel exemption.

This would also include eligible non-citizens in Singapore who cannot travel under the travel bubble arrangement.

Those who do not want to be quarantined when they return to Singapore can use the vaccinated travel lane arrangement that Singapore has with Australia, provided they comply with the requirements.

Travellers who return to Singapore from Australia on non-VTL flights would be subjected to prevailing border control measures including serving a seven-day stay-home notice.

Q: Which parts of Australia can I travel to?

Participating states under Singapore's travel bubble with Australia currently include New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australia.

Only Western Australia is not part of the arrangement.

If an eligible Singapore citizen seeks to travel onwards to another Australian state or territory other than those participating, they must adhere to all entry rules of that state or territory, including quarantine and post-arrival testing requirements.

Q: Who can enter Western Australia?

Western Australia, which includes Perth, is still largely closed off to visitors.

Only approved travellers are allowed to enter the state, with testing and quarantine requirements.

These include people with direct legitimate family connections who are entering to reconnect with family members, or people entering for urgent and essential medical treatment.

Those who enter Western Australia will also need to be quarantined - seven days for vaccinated travellers, and 14 days for those who are not vaccinated.

International students who manage to arrive in Australia before midnight on Feb 5 can apply to enter Western Australia as a returning student through interstate travel.

Students who arrive in Australia after midnight on Feb 5 will not be able to enter Western Australia as a returning student. They will need to fufil other requirements to enter.

Q: What are some of Australia's travel rules by state?

Each state in Australia implements its own testing and quarantine restrictions, depending on the Covid-19 situation in the state.

For most states, such as Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, fully vaccinated travellers must isolate until a Covid-19 test is taken within 24 hours of arrival.

New South Wales also requires additional testing on or after day six of arrival.

For Tasmania, no quarantine or testing is needed for fully vaccinated travellers.

Meanwhile, Western Australia still requires seven days of quarantine, even for those who have been vaccinated.

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