While Australia's international borders could reopen as soon as 1
November, foreign tourists will still not be allowed in until at least
2022, announced Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 1 October.
The fast-tracked reopening plan next month will allow fully
vaccinated citizens and permanent residents to fly out of Australia for
the first time since March 2020, in what is one of the toughest Covid-19
sanctions imposed by any government.
A seven-day home quarantine trial will be required for returning Australians.
The move comes as Australia reaches the milestone of more than 78%
first dose and 55% double dose vaccinations on its National Plan, where
each phase will only move forward when vaccination thresholds are met.
In addition, Australia has added two more recognised Covid-19
vaccines to its existing list of four. These are Pfizer (Comirnaty),
AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), Moderna (Spikevax), Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen,
Coronavac (Sinovac) and Covishield (AstraZeneca/Serum Institute of
Two airlines stand ready to carry passengers on their first flights
out in some 18 months — Qantas and Jetstar Asia, which had already
announced plans to prepare service resumptions between Singapore to
Australia in August.
Christmas comes early as international flights restart ahead of schedule, where national carrier Qantas had initially slated for a December resumption.
Still no foreign travellers, until "it's safe to do so"
However, it is less clear what the rules are for international tourists' return.
"We will get to international visitors as well, I believe next year,"
Morrison said. The AP report added that the next groups given priority
into Australia would be the skilled migrants and international students —
before tourists. A date for entry was not specified.
Meanwhile, the PM noted in his 1 October address that they are
working "towards completely quarantine-free travel for certain
countries, such as New Zealand, when it is safe to do so".
Australia and New Zealand briefly launched a quarantine-free travel
bubble in April 2021, but a Delta outbreak in June burst all reunions
when US air crew brought the contagious variant into Sydney — which has
recently just came out from nearly four months of lockdown.
next potential quarantine-free travel country for Australia could be
Singapore, where both destinations' leaders have have previously teased
travellers with talk of a travel bubble without making firm commitments.
Transport Minister S. Iswaran highlighted this keenness to reestablish
travel links with Australia in a 11 October interview with Bloomberg.
In its most significant reopening move yet, Singapore last week
launched a total of 11 destinations to its rapidly growing Vaccinated Travel Lanes — and it appears Australia, New Zealand and Japan are next.