COVID-19

International borders set to open

As Australia inches closer to the 80 per cent fully vaccinated milestone, it is expected that the Prime Minister will lift the ban on international travel.

Image credit: Adelaide Aiport

Good news for fully vaccinated Australians! International travel is expected to soon be back on the cards, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison set to announce a lift of Australia’s closed borders and the possibility of a seven-day home quarantine for returning citizens.  

As several states begin to inch closer to the 80 per cent fully vaccinated milestone, it is believed New South Wales and Victoria will offer stranded Australians the chance to return home without having to undergo hotel quarantine, favouring a home isolation system instead. 

The lift in restrictions will also see the ban on outbound travel dissolve, with it likely that fully vaccinated Australians will be able to leave the country as they please. With the re-opening of borders soon to be on the horizon, it is expected that states who reach the crucial vaccination threshold will ditch their cap on international arrivals. 

Currently, the ACT is leading the vaccination race with over 62 per cent of those 16 and above having received their double dose. New South Wales is closely catching up to the capital territory, sitting at 61.7 per cent fully vaccinated. 

SA is on par with Victoria’s vaccination rates, sitting at 48.4 per cent despite the state not being in lockdown, showing the solid effort by South Australians to get out and roll up their sleeves. As of today, 52.6 per cent of Australians aged over 16 are fully vaccinated. 

In a national first, South Australia has been trialling home quarantine for overseas arrivals since mid-September. Premier Steven Marshall said the trial was a testament to the state’s strong COVID recovery plan. 

“What we learn from the domestic and international Home Quarantine SA trials could help the entire nation to safely repatriate more Australians coming home from overseas,” said Marshall in a recent press release

“Every South Australian should feel proud that we are the national pilot for home-based quarantine and the role it could play in bringing stranded Australians home while keeping our community safe.”

Hesitant states questioning Australia’s gradual opening of borders and at home quarantine programs include Western Australia and Queensland, which will continue to require returning individuals to fork out $3000 for hotel quarantine. 

Since the borders slammed shut at the beginning of the pandemic in March last year, thousands of Australians were left standard overseas. This green light to lift international travel restrictions and welcome additional overseas arrivals may see families reunited after 18 months of separation, just in time for Christmas.  

The change to international border directions follows the national roadmap to a COVID safe Australia, as per recommendations of the Doherty Institute. While Australia is on track to reach the crucial 80 per cent threshold, the nation is expected to reach the target well before its 2022 due date. 

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