After close to 20 months of strict border conditions and lockdowns stretching across states and territories, Australia will finally open its doors for international travel.
From 1 November fully vaccinated Australians will no longer need an exemption to leave the country. Australians under 12 will not need to be vaccinated to travel. While this only applies to Australians, rules may soon be relaxed across the board.
“Before the end of the year, we anticipate welcoming fully vaccinated skilled workers and international students,” said Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews.
Almost 40 million doses have been administered across Australia, with over 60 per cent of eligible people over 16 years of age now fully vaccinated.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is currently in talks with Singapore to agree to a travel bubble between the two nations. Singapore recently announced that fully vaccinated Australians, permanent residents and their families would be welcomed without quarantine from 8 November.
From 22 November, Australians will be able to travel to Singapore via Qantas.
“We’re working to a timetable around about then which will see other visa-holders—in addition to Australians returning or going to Singapore and returning who are double vaccinated—being able to come to Australia,” said Mr Morrison.
Currently, Australians can only leave the country with an exemption. These requirements mean people can only leave under exceptional circumstances, such as travelling for essential work or visiting a dying relative.
Unvaccinated Australians will still need an exemption in order to travel internationally and must complete 14 days of hotel quarantine upon their return home.
Borders will open around the same time that Pfizer booster shots are expected to roll out nationwide. The changes could mean Australia is closer than ever to a return to a life with minimal quarantines and lockdowns.
“It’s time to give Australians their lives back,” the Prime Minister said.