Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed Australia will reopen its international borders this November. Morrison made the announcement in a press conference Friday afternoon, saying states will need to reach 80 per cent vaccination rate before they open up. International travel has been off limits since March 2020, when Australia closed its borders.
“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 limits, as long as they are fully vaccinated and those countries’ border settings allow,” he said.
“These changes mean there will be no travel restrictions if you are a vaccinated Australian entering or leaving our shores. We will also work towards completely quarantine-free travel for certain countries, such as New Zealand, when it is safe to do so.”
Under the new plan, vaccinated Aussies will only have to do seven days of home quarantine on their return. Those unvaccinated will be required to do the typical 14-day hotel quarantine.
Talks of the announcement, however, has thrown off some premiers, with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying in her press conference Friday morning: “It’s a bit disappointing we haven’t been given that due courtesy before national cabinet.”
The news comes just a few weeks after The Sydney Morning Herald reported the Federal Government will start issuing international Covid-19 vaccination certificates from October.
At the time, Morrison threw his support behind the idea, telling Sky News, “People have certificates of vaccination. I have one. We all have them. Of course, we have them for many other things as well. And you’re going to need them for international travel as well.”
The international borders reopening could well and truly be a reality as national carrier Qantas announced in August that it was planning to be up and running by Christmas. At the time, Qantas said it plans to bring back international flights to Fiji, Singapore, the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Canada by mid-December. It’s also hopeful that the trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand will be up and running by then too.
Under its plan, flights to Hong Kong will restart in February, while flights to places with lower vaccination rates, such as Bali, Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City and Johannesburg would restart from April 2022.