The government of Australia announced today that the ban on Australians travelling abroad will be lifted next month, a month ahead of the earlier scheduled December reopening, thus relaxing one of the toughest COVID-19 restrictions imposed globally.
Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, said that the reopening of the international borders for citizens and permanent residents will be linked to the establishment of home quarantine in Australia’s 8 states and territories. This means that some parts of the country will reopen sooner than others.
The first phase of the reopening plan will focus on citizens and permanent residents being allowed to leave Australia. Further changes are expected such as foreign travellers able to enter Australia in the near future.
Morrison, during a televised media conference, said:
It’s time to give Australians their lives back. We’ve saved lives. We’ve saved livelihoods, but we must work together to ensure that Australians can reclaim the lives that they once had in this country.
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The shift will allow states that have reached the 80% vaccination rate to welcome immunized overseas visitors. Morrison also states that he expects the first home quarantine systems to be up and running in November, but the timetable will be set by individual states and territories.
As per the announcement of Australian government on Friday, fully vaccinated Australians will be able to travel abroad and complete a 7-day quarantine at home on arrival in Australia. People who are not vaccinated will have to undergo a mandatory quarantine at a hotel on arrival.
The government’s intention is that once changes are made in November, the current overseas travel restrictions related to COVID-19 will be removed and Australians will be able to travel subject to any other travel advice and limit.
Australia’s borders have been closed to international visitors since March 2020. Australians also cannot leave the country. Since then, very few people have been given permission to leave the country for critical business or humanitarian reasons.
Additionally, citizens and permanent residents have been allowed to return to Australia from another country, subject to quota limits and a very strict mandatory 14-day quarantine period in a hotel at their own expense.
In order to support the reopening of borders and allow more Australians to return, government officials has expanded the country’s list of recognised COVID-19 vaccines. COVISHIELD, which is a version of AstraZeneca’s vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India, will be added to the approved list, joining the three vaccines being administered in Australia – Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. In addition, China’s Sinovac vaccine has also been added to the approved list of COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, Qantas, the flag carrier of Australia, announced that it has brought forward the resumption of flights to London and Los Angeles by a month in line with Australia’s reopening date.
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