Australian PM Scott Morrison will meet with Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday to discuss the settings for a travel bubble as the country looks to open its borders safely now that CCP virus vaccinations are rolling out.
Singapore will be the first stop on Morrison’s international tour to Cornwall for the Group of Seven (G7) Plus summit in the United Kingdom, which will include visits to London and Paris for trade and security talks.
Australia already has a COVID-safe “green zone” arrangement with New Zealand, but a travel bubble with Singapore would provide a boost to the tourism, education, and corporate sectors.
In March, Trade Minister Dan Tehan also suggested back that he would like to include a three-way travel bubble that encapsulates New Zealand and Singapore. Fiji is also understood to have expressed interest in joining this bubble.
However, a start date for the travel bubble is not expected to be set during the leader-level talks.
Both countries have rolled out a certificate system to verify who has been vaccinated against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which could make a safe travel corridor easier to establish.
Australia’s digital certificate has a coat of arms hologram and includes the person’s name, date of birth, and a green tick of validity and can be accessed through the Medicare app or online through MyGov once a vaccination provider has reported both doses of either AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Moderna.
Australian officials are hopeful some progress can be made during the leader talks on setting out the preconditions for a travel bubble.
Some countries are setting up travel corridors based on 50 to 60 percent vaccination rates.
Singapore Airlines has said the growing pace of vaccinations provides hope for a recovery in international air travel demand.
Airline regional vice president Louis Arul said it was committed to working with all levels of government to reopen Australia’s borders.
“Our commitment to Australia throughout this time has been unwavering, supporting the government’s efforts to return Australian citizens, facilitating Australian producers and suppliers to export produce … and ensure the uninterrupted import of essential medical supplies to support the fight against COVID-19,” he said.
“We are keen to work with key stakeholders and state and federal governments to progress the safe, staged reopening of borders to facilitate the return of more Australians, international students as well as skilled workers and our aviation on the path to recovery.”
Singapore Airlines brought the first batch of Belgian-made Pfizer into Australia in February, the same month it became one of the first carriers to operate flights with a full complement of vaccinated pilots and cabin crew.
The airline has received the highest level of international certification for its health safety measures.
It hopes to integrate the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Travel Pass mobile application for digital health verification into its own SingaporeAir mobile app from mid-2021.
Morrison and Lee will also discuss military training and cooperation and regional security.
At the G7 Plus summit, Morrison will attend three sessions—on health, the economy and climate—and meet with U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga, and Korea’s Moon Jae-in.
After the summit, he’ll meet with British PM Boris Johnson in London and hold talks in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.
AAP contributed to this report.