Australia Will Begin to Ease International Travel Restrictions In November

Australia will begin to ease international travel restrictions in November. Australia is set to ease its rules after 18 months of strict border restrictions. On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that some international travel would be allowed starting in November. The announcement comes on the heels of Australia deciding to abandon its zero-covid strategy.

Australia’s strict pandemic policies have kept their infection rates significantly lower than the US. The “Fortress of Australia” kept many families separated, and tens of thousands of permanent residents and Australian citizens were not able to enter the country. Several Australians couldn’t make it to family events like weddings or funerals. In July of 2020, Australia had imposed a cap of 4000 international arrivals per week, with each person having to quarantine in a government-sanctioned hotel.

According to NBC, Morrison said, “The time has come to give Australians their life back. We’re getting ready for that, and Australia will be ready for takeoff very soon.”

The new rules state that Australian citizens and permanent residents can travel internationally once 80% of the local adult population is vaccinated. This means that Australia’s eight states and territories could open at different times. Fully vaccinated travelers returning to Australia must complete a 7-day quarantine at home. Those who are not vaccinated must complete a 14-day quarantine in the government quarantine hotel system.

Foreign travelers are not yet welcomed. According to Yahoo News, “The government said it was working toward welcoming them back in due course.”

Australia has approved six vaccines, including Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, and Covishield. Only those who have been vaccinated with these approved vaccines will be allowed to travel in and out of the country. Currently, about 55% of Australians 16 years and older have been fully vaccinated. About 80% have received their first dose.

Australia’s flagship airline, Qantas, announced they would restart some international flights in mid-November.

New South Wales, including Sydney, will likely be the first to reopen to travelers. They are one of the two states already testing out at-home quarantine periods. Other parts of Australia are worried about reopening and experiencing a large outbreak. Australia will also work toward ending quarantine travel and resuming its travel bubble with New Zealand.

According to John Hopkins University, the entire country of Australia has 25 million people and reported about 107,000 confirmed cases with 1,311 deaths.

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