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Perth VTL: Western Australia to reopen border from 3 March

Western Australia is reopening its borders quarantine-free to fully vaccinated international visitors just two weeks from now.

In mid-January Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan pulled the plug on the states’ planned border reopening two weeks before it was due to happen, over the Omicron variant, dashing the hopes of many families looking forward to reuniting and travellers who had planned a holiday around the original proposal.

No subsequent reopening date was provided, leaving everyone in limbo over when to expect a relaxation.

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It also meant that when VTL flights from Perth to Singapore commenced on 5th February they represented only a one-way quarantine-free arrangement, with most travellers still unable to fly into Perth from overseas.

Western Australia to reopen on 3rd March

In a new announcement, Western Australia’s Premier has confirmed that the latest plan for the state is to reopen both domestic and international borders on 3rd March (that’s 2022, don’t worry – I checked!).

This will be the last of Australia’s states to reopen, with a general lifting of international border restrictions already announced to take effect from 21st February 2022.

Many Singapore residents are eager to take a trip back to Perth after almost two years. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Once Western Australia also comes on board from 3rd March, international arrivals will be welcomed across the whole of Australia for the first time in two years.

Following a review of WA’s border controls based on the latest health advice, the updated Safe Transition Plan will take effect from 12.01am Thursday, 3 March 2022.

The full border opening will allow for safe travel into WA from interstate and overseas with vaccination and testing requirements on arrival, pending the latest health advice.

Western Australia Government

Pre-departure test

Travellers heading to Perth from overseas will have to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test, in addition to providing evidence of full vaccination, with the two options being:

  • A PCR test within three days of departure; or
  • A RAT (ART) test within 24 hours of departure

Note that those taking a PCR test can do so within three calendar days of the departure date of their first flight to Australia (i.e. on the day of departure or anytime on the preceding three days). For those taking a RAT (ART) however, the test must be conducted within 24 hours of the departure time of their first flight to Australia.

Those aged 4 or below at the time of check-in are exempt from pre-departure testing when travelling internationally to Australia.

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For a RAT (ART), the test must be undertaken by or under the supervision of a medical practitioner (e.g., pharmacist, general practitioner, nurse, pathologist, pathology collector or trained personnel at airport-based testing stations).

Australia PDT Requirements

Your COVID-19 test result can be paper-based or electronic. Results must refer to the following mandatory requirements:

  • traveller name and date of birth (age at time of test or passport number accepted, if date of birth not listed)
  • the test result (such as ‘negative’ or ‘not detected’)
  • the method of test conducted e.g., NAA test or RAT
  • the brand and make of the test (for RAT tests)
  • the date (for RAT also include time) of specimen collection for the accepted COVID-19 test
  • that the specimen for the test was collected, and the test was carried out by or under the supervision of and, signed by an authorised person

  Full details of Australia PDT requirements

PCR tests in Singapore on average cost around S$120, though there are a good number of options in the S$96 – S$115 range. For those phobic of the nasal swab process, there are also saliva-based PCR tests available from S$115, valid for travel to Australia.

Pre-departure ART tests including a certificate for travel, meanwhile, cost around S$36 on average in Singapore, with multiple options in the S$21 – S$30 range, not to mention video-call supervised ART testing from as little as S$12.84, plus the cost of your own test kit.



 


 

Perth arrival process

Here’s how the process will look for travellers to fly internationally into Perth from Singapore, or from other countries with direct flights.

  • Take a pre-departure test before travelling to Australia (see above)
  • Meet Commonwealth Government requirements (eVisa) to enter Australia
  • Be fully vaccinated under the Commonwealth Government requirements
  • Complete the Digital Passenger Declaration within 72 hours of departure
  • Have a registered G2G Pass
  • Undertake a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) upon arrival within 12 hours and report any positive result
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All passengers arriving into Perth will have a RAT kit provided to them free of charge.

Travellers will receive a free ART kit to take their post-arrival test

The testing regime may be amended based on the state’s ongoing review process.

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Australian travellers will still need to quarantine in a hotel for seven days on arrival in Western Australia, however children under the age of 12 years and 2 months are exempt from this requirement.

(Image: Western Australia Government)

Fully vaccinated?

International travellers arriving in Western Australia will have to comply with the Commonwealth Government definition of “fully vaccinated”.

This requires visitors to have received at least two doses of any combination of the following vaccines, at least 14 days apart:

  • AstraZeneca
  • Covaxin
  • Moderna
  • Novavax
  • Pfizer / Biontech Comirnaty
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac
  • Sputnik V
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Alternatively, visitors may have had a single dose of:

  • Janssen (J&J)

Note that if you’re travelling interstate to Western Australia (i.e. from other Australian states like Victoria), you will need to have received a booster vaccine dose (third dose) to enter WA, if you are eligible to receive one.

Testing costs

Here are the estimated testing costs for a round-trip from Singapore to Perth and back, once the border reopens, for those taking a VTL trip.

🇦🇺 VTL
Singapore Perth
COVID-19 Testing 

Test Cost
SG pre-departure (ART)* From S$21
Perth on-arrival (ART) Free
Perth pre-departure (ART)* ~S$60
SG arrival (ART) S$15
Total From ~S$96

* Prices vary between providers and locations.

Thanks to a recently relaxed VTL testing process in Singapore from 22nd February, additional costs for a Western Australia trip should now be around S$100 per traveller.

Perth-Singapore VTL flights

You can take any flight from Singapore to Perth, but here’s the latest list of designated VTL flights you’ll need to take from Perth to Singapore to use the quarantine-free lane.

27th March 2022 - 31st March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
3K132
A320
     
PER
00:05
SIN

05:20
 bgcolor= SQ216
787-10
PER
01:10
SIN

06:35
 bgcolor= SQ224
787-10
PER
06:25
SIN

11:45
QF71
A330
PER
11:50
SIN

17:20
 bgcolor= SQ214
A350 Regional
PER
17:10
SIN

22:35
 bgcolor= TR9
787-9
   
PER
18:00
SIN

23:30
 bgcolor= TR17
787-9
         
PER
21:35
SIN

03:15*

* Next day

1st June 2022 - 29th October 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
3K132
A320
     
PER
00:05
SIN

05:20
 bgcolor= SQ216
787-10
PER
01:10
SIN

06:35
 bgcolor= SQ224
787-10
PER
06:25
SIN

11:45
QF71
A330
PER
11:50
SIN

17:20
 bgcolor= SQ214
A350 Regional
PER
17:10
SIN

22:35
 bgcolor= TR9
787-9
PER
18:00
SIN

23:30
 bgcolor= TR17
787-9
       
PER
21:35
SIN

03:15*

* Next day

Important

From 1st April 2022, there will be no more designated VTL flights to Singapore.
All fully vaccinated travellers can enter quarantine-free on any flight operated by any airline on any route.

It’s a busy VTL route with 32 weekly flights already programmed from SIA and Scoot alone by late March.

We also expect Qantas and Jetstar to operate VTL flights on the Perth – Singapore route, and we’ll update our full list of options here once they confirm their schedules.

Scoot is operating daily Boeing 787-9 VTL flights from Perth to Singapore, increasing to 11 times weekly from 27th March

VTL process Perth – Singapore

Those flying on designated VTL flights from Perth to Singapore will follow the latest VTL pre-departure and arrival process.

VTL Process
Australia Singapore

  • Must be fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine in Singapore, or any VTL country (e.g. Australia), or any EU member state, or any non-EU countries that have joined the EU DCC system
  • Must have an accepted digital proof of vaccination
  • Children aged 12 or below in the current calendar year are exempt from the vaccination requirements
  • Must have stayed in Australia, Singapore or any VTL country for 7 days
  • Apply for a VTP in advance*
  • Purchase COVID-19 travel insurance (min. coverage of S$30,000)*
  • Take a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR or RAT/ART test (up to 2 days before departure)
  • Travel to Singapore on designated ‘VTL flights’ (see above)
  • Take a COVID-19 ART test within 24 hours of arrival at a QTC/CTC
  • Self-isolate until the result is available

* Not applicable for Singapore Citizens, permanent residents or pass holders



 


 

Summary

It’s great to have a new planned reopening date for Western Australia’s borders, so now we just have to hope they stick with the plan this time and actually go ahead with it, in just two weeks’ time.

Given the embarrassing U-Turn last month, it seems much more likely that WA will stick to its plan this time round, with McGowan finally admitting “the virus is already here, and we cannot stop its spread”.

We would therefore be confident to make bookings to Perth from 3rd March onwards. Surely they won’t change their minds a second time!

(Cover Photo: Nathan Hurst)

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