October 27, 2021

Australia Relaxing COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Great news from Australia – From November 1st 2021, Australia will start lifting its outbound travel ban for fully vaccinated residents thanks to the strong uptake of COVID-19 vaccines.

Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s biggest cities, are also preparing to welcome overseas travellers without quarantine. Unvaccinated travellers will still be allowed entry if they agree to undergo the two-week mandatory quarantine upon arrival.

However, Australia’s states and territories have differing vaccination rates and health policies. Here are some indicated dates in Australia’s path to reopening borders based on current vaccination rates:

Nov. 1

** New South Wales and Victoria – home to more than half of Australia’s near 26 million population – will allow quarantine-free entry to all international travellers, although citizens and permanent residents will benefit first.

** All fully-vaccinated citizens and permanent residents can leave Australia without seeking a travel exemption.

Nov. 23

** South Australia to halve quarantine period for international travellers to seven days; quarantine to end when double-dose vaccination rate in the state’s population above 12 reaches 90% but no firm date given.

** Northern Territory to allow two-week home quarantine for fully vaccinated domestic travellers from virus hotspots, rather than at supervised facilities.

Dec 1

** Unvaccinated residents in New South Wales, home to Sydney, to enjoy the same level of freedom as the vaccinated – no limits on outdoor and home gatherings, while more customers will be allowed in retail stores.

Dec. 15

** Tasmania to open borders for fully vaccinated overseas travellers and residents from other states who must provide a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to travel.

Dec. 17

Queensland to allow quarantine-free entry to vaccinated residents from all states, but international arrivals may have to undergo “a period of home quarantine”.

Dec. 20

Northern Territory to halve home quarantine to a week with officials planning to end quarantine by Jan. 18, 2022.

*** Western Australia, the only state without a reopening plan yet, has warned it could close its borders to other states if they allow quarantine-free entry for residents from virus-hit New South Wales and Victoria.

 

Airlines have said they’re not ready for the ramping up of services this reopening will require. However Australian carrier Qantas responded by announcing it would restart international flights to major overseas destinations a month earlier than their planned date of 18th December.

Although travel is not immediately open to foreigners, the government said it was working “towards welcoming tourists back to our shores”.

Mr Morrison said Australia’s mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine – which costs each traveller A$3,000 (£1,600; $2,100) – would be replaced by seven days of home quarantine for vaccinated Australians or permanent residents. Unvaccinated travellers must still quarantine for 14 days in hotels.

 

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