A planned travel bubble between Singapore and Australia will have to wait until the end of the year, according to Australian Trade and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan.
In an interview with The Age, Tehan said the travel bubble — which would have began in a matter of weeks — was put on hold by mutual agreement.
The halt to the arrangement comes as Australia struggles with a stuttering national vaccine rollout and an outbreak of the virus in Sydney.
However, Tehan said the travel bubble with Singapore still remained a priority.
"It’s very difficult to put a time frame on it," said Tehan, according to The Age.
"But when you look at the plan that Singapore have put in place and you put it alongside the plan that the prime minister has announced, the hope might be towards the end of the year that you could look at a travel bubble with Singapore."
Australia keen for travel bubble with Singapore
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his counterpart Scott Morrison had previously met to discuss the travel bubble in June.
At the time, Morrison said Singapore was the first country besides New Zealand that Australia "wishes to engage in air travel with".
PM Lee added that before travel could resume, some infrastructure and processes need to be prepared first, including the mutual recognition of health and vaccination certificates.
Yet, The Age reported that Australia has only managed to get 10 per cent of its population fully vaccinated, with 30 per cent having received their first jab.
Singapore on the other hand has fully vaccinated about 38 per cent of its population — 66 per cent have gotten their first jab.
Meanwhile, the state of New South Wales — which houses the city of Sydney — reported 77 new Covid-19 cases on Jul. 11 as well as one death.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the state is likely to extend its lockdown, which was due to end on Jul. 16.
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