Discussions have taken place between Australia and Singapore about permitting travel the two countries who have received Covid-19 vaccinations, according to The Age on Saturday.
“Singapore is very keen to work with Australia on a proof of vaccination certificate and we agreed our officials should work together on this", said Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan, according to the Melbourne-based outlet.
"I’m scheduled to travel to Singapore in the coming months and this will be a key topic of discussions as we seek to explore a travel bubble with Singapore".
According to The Age report, he added that he has already spoken to Singaporean Trade Minister Chan Chun Sing about the travel bubble, which unnamed Australian government sources say they hope to see introduced by July or August. A broader opening of Australia's international borders is set to begin in October.
As well as including the nationals of the two countries, it could also permit people from third countries to enter Australia via Singapore following a two-week quarantine in the city-state. The bubble could also incorporate New Zealand, The Age said.
Under current rules, New Zealanders can travel to Australia without requiring quarantine. However, due to New Zealand’s reluctance to open to Australian travel, a two-way bubble does not currently exist.
A key to the proposed two-or-three country bubble plan is the recognition of the others’ digital vaccine certificates.
The recipient of a COVID-19 inoculation in Singapore and carrying a “proof of vaccination” certificate issued by the Singaporean authorities could have their entry to Australia hastened and potentially avoid hotel quarantine, or see a reduction in the time required to isolate, in accordance with medical advice from the Australian government.
Australians who have received their vaccine are already able to access a certificate through the ExpressPlus Medicare app. The Morrison government is now working to expand the certification and ensure that it is compatible with its counterparts in other countries.
Singapore and Australia have both largely kept the virus under control and regularly report days with little to no community transmission.
Just over 60,000 confirmed cases have been identified in Singapore since the beginning of the pandemic, around 50% higher than Australia’s infection rate, but has only recorded 29 deaths compared to Australia's 909.
As of Sunday, around 6.7% of the 5.7 million Singaporean population has been vaccinated with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, ahead of Australia’s 0.4%.