Singapore will open its borders to Australians from next week, but will continue to exclude Victorians from entering the country.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) released a statement on Wednesday saying that, from midday on Thursday (2pm AEST), October 1, Australian citizens could apply for an Air Travel Pass for entry to the country on or after October 8.
Applicants must have remained in Australia for the previous 14 days before entry and undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival at Changi Airport. Only after obtaining a negative result will they be allowed to freely roam Singapore.
Victorians or anyone who has been in Victoria during the previous 14 days will not be allowed to apply.
Singapore is also opening its borders to travellers from Vietnam under the same conditions.
"Both countries have comprehensive public health surveillance systems and displayed successful control over the spread of the COVID-19 virus," CAAS stated.
"Over the last 28 days, Vietnam has zero local COVID-19 cases, while Australia (excluding Victoria state) has a virus local incidence rate of 0.02 per 100,000. The risk of importation from these countries is low."
COVID-19 tests at the airport should take about 12 hours before a result, according to CAAS, but could take up to 48 hours. Visitors must take a taxi or other private transport to their accommodation and remain there until they receive the result. They must also download Singapore's contact tracing app, TraceTogether, and keep it activated during their stay.
The announcement comes as Japan also relaxed its entry requirements, permitting visitors from some countries who have a reason to enter for three months or longer, but stopping short of allowing tourist visas. A two-week quarantine is required upon arrival.
Australia is reportedly on a list of 10 priority countries that will be the first to be allowed to visit once Japan begins allowing tourists.
There are a large number of countries that are already open to Australians as tourists, without requiring quarantine upon entry, including the UK, the US, most of the European Union and the Maldives. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern this week indicated that a travel bubble with Australia could open before Christmas.
The snag of course is that the Australian government will not currently let people leave the country except in special circumstances, such as moving overseas for a job. However, data shows Border Force is likely to approve applications from Australians who plan to leave the country for at least three months.