According to media, Australia has officially greenlit international travel today, bringing forward the plan to scrap the international border bans to November in states that hit vaccination targets.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the new framework the states will need to meet before they can agree to reopen international travel.
“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,” Mr Morrison told reporters from Canberra.
Mr Morrison said Australia was moving towards Phase C of its reopening plan and would hit that goal next month, when the nation has 80 per cent of its population double-vaccinated.
A number of hurdles need to be cleared before international flights resume again.
Second, the seven-day home quarantine can only be completed by Australian citizens and permanent residents that are fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognised by the TGA.
Sinovac and Covid Shield – both of which have been widely used in Asia – will be recognised by the TGA.
Fourteen-day quarantine will still be in place for anyone not fully vaccinated or vaccinated with a vaccine not recognised by the TGA.
“We‘re also offering facilitated commercial flights for Australians overseas into states and territories that agree to commence the home quarantine trials,” Mr Morrison said.
The PM said Australia was also working towards “completely quarantine-free travel for certain countries such as New Zealand when it is safe to do so”.
Thirdly, Australians who want to travel overseas once restrictions are removed will need an internationally recognised proof of vaccination document.
“So this is an important next step in the national plan. No surprises here … we said to Australians – we get to 80 per cent, you can leave the country and you can come back again,” Mr Morrison said.
“I’m going to keep the deal with Australians when it comes to the national plan.”
The Prime Minister first announced the border closure on March 20, 2020 to all non-citizens and nonresidents.
Even Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family needed to apply for an exemption to travel and to quarantine at a hotel for 14 days on arrival at a cost of more than $3000.
The new rules for international travellers will allow travel for double-vaccinated Australians and require pre-flight Covid tests.