Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed on Friday that international travel for Australians will resume next month, thanks to rising vaccination rates.
Since March 2020, Australia has had some of the world’s strictest border rules – even banning its own people from leaving the country. At present, people can leave Australia only for exceptional reasons such as essential work or visiting a dying relative.
The policy has been praised for helping to suppress Covid, but it has also controversially separated families.
“It’s time to give Australians their lives back,” Morrison said. He said Australia had seen great success in saving lives with the measures used to Covid outbreaks.
“But Australians have made great sacrifices to achieve that result, and that has been a heavy burden,” Morrison said. “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.”
VIDEO: Australia is ready to gradually reopen its borders, the country's prime minister says, 18 months after citizens were banned from travelling overseas without permission pic.twitter.com/QQpUtM8acQ
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) October 1, 2021
Travel would not immediately be open to foreigners, but the government said “it was working towards welcoming tourists back to our shores.”
Travel Ban in Australia has left thousands stranded overseas
Entry is permitted for citizens and others with exemptions, but there are tight caps on arrival numbers. This has left tens of thousands of citizens stranded overseas.
The fully vaccinated who have had both doses of a TGA-approved vaccine, will soon be able to leave Australia and then quarantine inside their homes upon their return for seven days.
Home quarantine trials in several states will need to be completed and proven to be sustainable at widespread levels.
“So as I said in the national plan, we will move to a phase where there will be caps lifted if you’re vaccinated,” Morrison said, adding that Australia would move to Phase C of the National Plan “next month” as states hit 80 percent vaccination levels.
Australians who cannot be vaccinated due to age or certain medical conditions will be treated as vaxxed.
Travel caps will increase and there will be no restrictions on which countries will be open for travel. The PM said that Australia would be working towards completely quarantine-free travel for countries such as New Zealand.
An internationally recognized proof of vaccination document will be made available in the coming weeks.
Qantas to restart flights to London and Los Angeles
Qantas announced today it will bring forward the resumption of its international flights to November 14, 2021 after the Federal government’s decision.
The Australian airline will operate three weekly return flights between Sydney and London and three weekly return flights between Sydney and Los Angeles flying its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.
Qantas said fares are now on sale for Australian citizens, permanent residents, their immediate families and some visa holders. Fares start from $1662 return for Sydney-Los Angeles and $1869 return for Sydney-London.
Once the Federal government announces the exact date that Australia’s international borders will reopen next month, the start dates for the two routes may need to be updated, the airline said.