The recent announcement of a Singapore and Hong Kong travel bubble has Australians hopeful. And rightfully so.
Quarantine-free flights between the two Asian nations will begin on May 26.
Singapore and Hong Kong may expand the travel to include Australia, if it goes smoothly.
It’s a test run, essentially.
How the Singapore – Hong Kong travel bubble will work
As of May 26, Hong Kong and Singapore residents will be able to travel between the two countries without quarantine. Residents will no longer need to give a reason for their travel.
The Singapore Hong Kong travel bubble will include one flight a day, with a maximum of 200 passengers on Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Every traveller must test negative for COVID-19 before both departure and arrival.
Hong Kong residents must receive both rounds of COVID-19 vaccinations 14 days before departure. Cathy Pacific staff will be fully vaccinated.
So what about Australia?
Cathay Pacific expressed their desire to see the Singapore Hong Kong travel bubble expand to other nations as soon as possible.
“We believe the safe and secure bubble flights will be a milestone showcase for the opening of similar travel arrangements with other popular destinations,” the airline said in a statement.
It’s clear that the desire to include Australia is there.
However, it could be a long way off.
Remember that bit about Hong Kong Residents needing a COVID vaccination? We don’t know whether Hong Kong and Singapore will only allow vaccinated Australians to travel. And given that our vaccination program is rolling out slower than expected, it may be some time before this travel bubble happens.
New Zealand is the other potential obstacle to any Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore travel bubble.
Australia and New Zealand started quarantine-free flights in April and so far, they have been running smoothly.
But NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern did warn that if Australian added Singapore to a travel bubble, NZ would have to reassess the risk of travel from Australia.
However, NZ is exploring options for travel bubbles with other COVID-free nations in the Pacific such as the Cook Islands.
So at this stage, it is wait and see. If the Hong Kong Singapore travel bubble goes smoothly, then we may see Australia and New Zealand included. But don’t count your chickens just yet.