Australia Premier to Make First Pandemic-Era Visit to Singapore

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison will make an official visit to Singapore on Thursday, the first foreign leader to do so since the coronavirus broke out.

Morrison and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong are set to discuss bilateral cooperation, according to a statement from the city-state’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday. The countries’ leaders get together annually in what’s known as the Singapore-Australia Leaders’ Meeting, though last year’s powwow was held virtually. The premiers will hold a joint press conference afterward.

Singapore and Australia are among a handful of Asia-Pacific countries that have managed to contain the virus and have been reluctant to ease up border restrictions. Australia has largely closed off its border to non-citizens and residents since last year, while Singapore doesn’t allow short-term visitors to enter, except for those under programs such as a green lane for business travelers.

Nonetheless, both countries have been trying to start quarantine-free travel with select partners. In March, Singapore’s foreign affairs ministry said it’s in talks with Australia to start such a travel bubble. Singapore has been trying to do the same with Hong Kong, but the effort has been delayed because of virus flareups on both sides.

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