For the first time since the pandemic began, Australia is allowing its citizens to leave the county without an exemption notice.
This post will look at the new border rules, when Australia anticipates opening its borders to non-citizens, and what international airlines are resuming flights.
Australia Lifts Travel Ban For Citizens
Australia introduced some of the world’s toughest border restrictions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, shutting down its border and not allowing residents to leave without an exemption notice.
This has led to thousands of families being split across continents, with foreign residents stuck in the country unable to see friends or relatives.
Today, A joint statement from the health and home affairs ministries said that fully vaccinated citizens will no longer have to seek an exemption to leave the country.
However, Australians won’t be able to go everywhere. The Department of Foreign Affairs says seven countries have so far given the green light.
These include the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Greece, Germany, South Africa, and The United States of America, which is opening up to international travel on November 8.
“On Monday, Australians will be taking off again,” Mr. Morrison told Parliament.
“Australians will be taking off as the international restrictions on travel for vaccinated Australian residents and citizens is lifted, and there’s more than 500,000 Australians who have already downloaded their international vaccination certificate.”
More Travel Restrictions Will Be Eased As Vaccination Rates Increase
Home Affairs minister Karen Andrews said Australian citizens are being prioritized, but there are plans to ease more travel restrictions — including for non-citizens — as vaccination rates continue to increase.
“Before the end of the year, we anticipate welcoming fully vaccinated skilled workers and international students,” she said.
There is still no definitive timeline for when international tourists can travel to Australia, but Morisson has previously said he believed it would be next year (2022).
“On international visitors, well, we’ll see how Australians coming back first goes,” prime minister Scott Morrison said last week.
“We don’t want to see what’s happened in other parts of the world where people have moved too fast,” he added.
Yesterday, the Australian government also announced they are authorizing booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines for over-18s, with the third dose expected to be offered to the entire population from next month.
Quarantine arrangements for returning vaccinated residents will depend on where travelers arrive in Australia.
The two biggest cities in Australia, Sydney, and Melbourne, are preparing to welcome overseas travelers without quarantine. Other cities in Australia are expected to do the same as vaccination rates increase.
Unvaccinated travelers will still be allowed entry if they agree to undergo the two-week mandatory quarantine upon arrival.
Travel Bubble With Singapore On Horizon
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that country was now “very close” to announcing a reciprocal travel bubble with Singapore. On Tuesday, Singapore said it would allow quarantine-free entry to vaccinated travelers from Australia from November 8
“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.”
International Flights Resuming
As international travel rules ease, major airlines are responding by increasing flights.
Hawaiian Airlines announced that it would resume its nonstop service between Honolulu and Sydney on December 13.
Air New Zealand said it would resume its service from Los Angeles to Sydney when Australia partially lifts its travel ban, while Qantas Airways announced it will operate three weekly return flights between Sydney and London and three weekly return flights between Sydney and Los Angeles from November 14.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the return of regular international travel will meet “pent up demand” as Australians get ready to travel overseas again.
“There’s massive demand for Australians wanting to see their family and relatives. There’s massive demand for loved ones wanting to get together for Christmas. There’s massive demand for people wanting to take that holiday, that they’ve been looking forward to for nearly two years,”
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories