Singapore might have allowed “general travel” to Brunei and New Zealand, but does that mean you can really travel to these countries? Let’s find out!
It’s been a hot minute since the world went into lockdown, the burning question on everyone’s minds is: when can we travel? According to projections by Brian Pearce, the Chief Economist at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), it seems to be in 2023.
However, news came on the last weekend of 21 August 2020 that Singapore has given the green light to travel to Brunei Darussalam and New Zealand starting 1 September 2020.
Good news for us? Not so fast.
Guides to Resuming International Travel:
#1: Which Country Can I Travel to Now?
#2: Which Airlines Are Resuming Flights?
#3: Future of Air Travel After COVID-19
#4: When Can We Travel Again: 2023 Forecast
#5: Immunity Passports to Resume Travel
#6: Can Singaporeans Travel to Brunei & New Zealand?
#7: How Airlines Are Wooing You Back Onboard
#8: Post-COVID-19 Travel Habits
#9: How Tech & AI Are Helping to Reignite Tourism
#10: Singapore-Hong Kong Travel Bubble Guide
#11: Everything You Need To Know About Singapore’s COVID-19 Vaccinations
#12: Travel Corridor vs Travel Bubble: Everything To Know About Flying
What Did the News Report Say?
Skip ahead to 2:55 to hear what Education Minister Lawrence Wong has to say about outbound travel towards Brunei Darussalam and New Zealand.
The TL;DW of it is:
- Singapore to allow “general travel” to Brunei Darussalam and New Zealand
- Singapore to allow travel for students studying overseas
- Singapore to subsidise treatment of COVID-19 for travellers to Brunei Darussalam and New Zealand, as well as Singaporean students studying overseas.
Obviously, there are caveats to this. If you belong to one of those groups of people, you’ll have to be in compliance with prevailing border control measures, be it in Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, and New Zealand, or whatever country your institution is in.
What Does “General Travel” Mean?
Trawling through the Gov.sg site for clarification on this ambiguous term does not reveal anything, but another quick check on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) website shows that you can’t travel to Brunei Darussalam and New Zealand just yet.
|Country||Border Open To Singaporeans?|
|Brunei Darussalam||Yes, but only for the following groups of people:|
• Essential business travel (including official travel)
• Medical tourists seeking treatment in Brunei
• Compassionate circumstances, such as spouse or immediate family members of Brunei Citizens
It could be very possible that MFA’s website has not been updated at the time of writing, so let’s dig a little deeper.
What Does Brunei Darussalam Have To Say About Singaporean Tourists Travelling There?
As of 3 September 2020, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore have agreed to do a Reciprocal Green Lane arrangement for the following group of people:
- Essential business travel (including official travel)
- Medical tourists
- Compassionate circumstances, such as spouse or immediate family members of Brunei Citizens
If you’re looking to travel there for a holiday, sike, you’re still not allowed to travel to Brunei Darussalam.
On the flipside, it makes cents why Singapore is relaxing its border restrictions with travellers from Brunei Darussalam. The country has had a record of 91 days of no new COVID-19 cases up until 7 August 2020, when a 24-year-old man travelling home from Yemen contracted it. Where he contracted it from is unclear, and is besides the point.
To date, Brunei Darussalam has had only a total of 143 COVID-19 cases, according to this report by Brunei Darussalam’s Ministry of Health. That is only ~0.03% of its population, signalling its relative safety and low risk level for travel.
|Total COVID-19 Cases||143||56,404||CAA 24 August 2020|
|Percentage of Cases to Population||~0.03%||~1%||Rounded up to 2 decimal places|
What Does New Zealand Have to Say About Singaporean Tourists Travelling There?
Another big oof. While MFA’s website tells us to visit New Zealand’s official government’s website, we found that it only contains information pertaining to its nationals. We did another search on New Zealand’s border status and found Immigration New Zealand, saying that its borders are closed to almost all travellers, including Singaporeans.
This is supported by a statement from a spokesperson by Immigration New Zealand, who said that they’re aware of Singapore’s intent to establish travel between the two countries, but the border restrictions will remain in place.
Much like Brunei Darussalam, New Zealand has had a relatively low number of COVID-19 cases, with only 1,332 people in its 5 million population being infected by the virus. That’s only ~0.02% of its population, which again, signaling its relative safety and leading to relaxed border restrictions to its travellers bound for Singapore.
|Total COVID-19 Cases||1,332||56,404||CAA 24 August 2020|
|Percentage of Cases to Population||~0.02%||~1%||Rounded up to 2 decimal places|
What’s the Total Numbers of Brunei Darussalam & New Zealand Looking Like, Relative to Singapore?
|Brunei Darussalam||New Zealand||Singapore||Remarks|
|Total COVID-19 Cases||143||1,332||56,404||CAA 24 August 2020|
|Percentage of Cases to Population||~0.03%||~0.02%||~1%||Rounded up to 2 decimal places|
No, Singaporean Tourists Can’t Travel to Brunei Darussalam & New Zealand Just Yet
That is, until Brunei Darussalam & New Zealand decides to open their borders to us. You’ll want to keep a lookout on Brunei Tourism Board’s and Immigration New Zealand’s websites on the border status, as well as our own MFA’s website. Till then, you’ll have to make do with browsing for staycation deals if you’re in the mood for a getaway.
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