Queensland has become the latest Australian state to reopen its borders to international travel, with the government announcing that from 22 January 2022, fully vaccinated international arrivals can avoid quarantine by taking a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of arrival.
Even better, this does not need to be a PCR test. The cheaper antigen rapid tests (known as ARTs to us, RATs to Australians) are acceptable- which means you could enjoy freedom of movement pretty much from the moment you land.
Queensland to reopen from 22 January
Queensland has announced that from 1 a.m on Saturday, 22 January 2022, fully vaccinated international arrivals need not quarantine provided they can produce a negative COVID-19 ART result within 24 hours of arrival.
For avoidance of doubt, self-administered ARTs are acceptable. You technically need to isolate until a negative result is received, but realistically speaking, that’s maybe 15 minutes at most.
There is no need to report the results of your on-arrival COVID-19 ART; the Queensland Premier has stated these will be on an honour system and not policed. As a matter of best practice, however, you should at the very least take a time-stamped photo of your negative result.
To summarise the requirements, international arrivals to Queensland will be required to:
- Complete the Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before departure
- Present a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of departure to Queensland
- Take an ART within 24 hours of arrival in Queensland (and isolate until a negative result is received)
What kind of ART kits can I use?
Australia is facing a critical shortage of ARTs at the moment, so it’s highly recommended you bring your own from Singapore. ARTs start at just S$4.90 here, versus A$10-15 in Australia (and keep in mind those are the official prices; shortages have led to customers paying upwards of A$25 per kit).
ART kits in Australia are overseen by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA has a list of approved home test kits, as well as a copy of the manufacturer’s instructions for each test.
Three of the kits sold in Singapore pharmacies are accepted in Australia, namely:
- Abbott Panbio COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test
- SD Biosensor SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Self Test Nasal
- Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test
With regards to SD Biosensor, note that it’s the white kit with blue text that’s approved for use in Australia, not the white kit with pink text (Standard Q). I don’t see QuickVue on the TGA’s list, so don’t bring those.
Overall testing regime
Here’s how much round-trip travellers to Brisbane can expect to pay for testing.
|⚕️ Brisbane Travel: Testing Regime|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||72h before departure (PCR)||From S$98|
|🇦🇺 Australia||Within 24 hours of arrival (ART)||S$5|
|🇦🇺 Australia||2 days before departure (ART/PCR)||A$59|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||On arrival at Changi (PCR)||S$125|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Day 2 (ART)||S$5|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Day 3 (Tele-ART)||S$17.84|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Day 4 (ART)||S$5|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Day 5 (ART)||S$5|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Day 6 (ART)||S$5|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Day 7 (Tele-ART)||S$17.84|
|Total Cost||S$343 per pax|
For a list of the cheapest pre-departure tests you can find in Singapore, refer to this article.
Flights to/from Brisbane
Singapore Airlines is currently operating two daily flights to Brisbane on SQ245 and SQ255. From 1 February 2022, an additional 3x weekly service (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday) will commence on SQ235.
These flights are marked as “For Eligible Persons Only” or FEPO, a label that refers to fully vaccinated:
- Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members
- Singapore citizens
- Eligible visa holders
This label will no longer appear for flights departing after 31 March 2022, although customers must still meet the relevant travel requirements before boarding their flight.
Singapore Airlines is currently operating two daily flights from Brisbane on SQ236 and SQ246. From 1 February 2022, an additional 3x weekly service (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) will commence on SQ256.
All flights from Brisbane are VTL services. You can identify these by the VTL label shown on the booking screen.
As a reminder, here’s the requirements for entering Singapore under the VTL.
|✈️ Summary: VTL Requirements|
|For Travel to Singapore 🇸🇬|
If you’re interested in redeeming miles, here’s how much it costs to redeem flights between Singapore and Brisbane on Singapore Airlines.
|Redemption Cost between Singapore and Brisbane|
(Flight on Singapore Air)
Flights are currently operated by regional-configured A350-900s, with Economy and Business Class the only two cabins available.
Business Class passengers can expect the 2018 Regional Business Class seat. This is similar to the one on the B787-10, a review of which I’ve included below.
Which other Australian states are open?
With this latest development, fully vaccinated Singapore citizens can travel to:
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
Western Australia is scheduled to reopen on 5 February 2022.
Queensland will be reopening its borders to fully vaccinated international travellers from 22 January 2022, with the only on-arrival COVID-19 testing requirement being an ART. Bring a kit with you on the plane and test yourself at the airport, and you can effectively enjoy freedom of movement by the time you claim your bag.
Surprisingly, there’s still no word as to when Singapore PRs and long-term passholders will be able to visit Australia under the VTL, but from what I understand the hold up is on the Australian side, not Singapore.