Scott Morrison has reached a deal with Singapore to work on the conditions for a travel bubble that would initially allow students to return.
The Prime Minister visited Singapore on Thursday to speak to his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong.
It was the first stop on his way to Cornwall for the G7 leaders’ summit, as well as trade and security talks in London and Paris.
Over the past week, Singapore has recorded an average of four local COVID-19 cases a day, with its vaccine rollout well underway, restrictions easing and rapid test kits about to go on sale to the public in pharmacies.
Morrison said Singapore had done a “tremendous” job in tackling the virus and it was time to put systems in place to enable the two countries to open up in a similar way to the Australia-New Zealand bubble “when we are both in a position to do so”.
“There is nothing impeding us – as we discussed today – from getting on with the job of putting systems in place that will enable such a bubble to emerge between Singapore and Australia,” he said.
Students from Singapore would get priority when the bubble is established.
At an int media conference, Mr Lee said the world was now transitioning into the “next phase of the fight”, in relation to the pandemic.
The “safe and calibrated” air travel bubble would start with mutual recognition of vaccine certificates, he said.
“When ready then we can start small with an air travel bubble to build confidence on both sides,” he said.
The two leaders signed a memorandum of understanding on health care and health technology and agreed to begin talks on a “finch bridge” which would make it easier to cooperate on financial technology.
After the G7 summit, Morrison will meet with British PM Boris Johnson in London and hold talks in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.
“There has never been a more important time for Australia to be at the table with the world’s largest liberal democracies and advanced economies,” Mr Morrison said in a statement.
“The global pandemic and the recession it has caused means like-minded countries and businesses need to work together to lead the global recovery to restore lives and livelihoods.
“There is a lot at stake for Australia, the region and the world.”
This article originally appeared on Over60.