Published on : Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Australia has decided to reopen its international borders from November, allowing vaccinated citizens to enjoy their long-awaited freedoms. Since March 2020, Australia has had some of the world’s strictest border rules that even banned its own people from leaving the country.
The policy was praised for helping to suppress Covid, but it has also separated families for a long time. On Friday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that an 18-month ban on Australians travelling abroad will be lifted from next month, easing one of the toughest COVID-19 restrictions in the world.
He mentioned that it was time to give Australians their lives back. Reopening the international border for citizens and permanent residents will be linked to the establishment of home quarantine in Australia’s eight states and territories, meaning that some parts of the country will reopen sooner than others.
The first phase of the plan will focus on citizens and permanent residents being allowed to leave Australia, with further changes expected to permit foreign travellers to enter the country. Citizens and permanent residents have been allowed to return from abroad, according to quota limits and a mandatory 14-day quarantine period in a hotel at their own expense.
There have also been a few high-profile exceptions granted for entry for business purposes, including Hollywood actors to film movies and TV shows. PM Morrison also said that people would be eligible to travel when their state’s vaccination rate hits 80.
However, travelling would not be immediately open to international tourists but the government said it was working towards welcoming tourists back to the shores. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister also said 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.
He has previously said the country wants all state and international borders reopened when the national vaccination rate for people aged over 16 reaches 80%, expected by the end of next month. However, the sudden rise in positive COVID-19 cased especially the Delta variant- outbreak has locked down the major cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra for weeks and divided state and territory leaders.
Some presiding over virus-free parts of the country have indicated they will defy the federal plan. Under the plan announced on Friday, Australians who are fully vaccinated will be able to travel abroad and complete 7-day quarantine at home on their return. People who are not vaccinated will be required to undertake 14 days of quarantine at a hotel when they return. Qantas Airways has pre-poned its planned resumption of international flights by more than a month to November 14.