After 18 months of hard borders, hotel quarantine and two million expired passports, Australia’s international travel ban will lift in November for the vaccinated.
Existing caps on international arrivals will also be lifted, in a move that allows the 44,000 stranded Australians to return home. However both measures will be implemented by individual states, once 80% of their respective populations are vaccinated.
Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to undertake seven days of home quarantine, provided they are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated arrivals will still have to undertake 14 days of quarantine, either at a hotel or approved facility, at their own expense.
Speaking after a meeting of Australia’s National Cabinet, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “It’s time to give Australians their lives back”.
“With first dose vaccination rates at over 78 per cent and double dose rates nationwide at 55 per cent and on track to reach 70 per cent in some jurisdictions over the next week, our government has been finalising plans so Australian families can be reunited, Australian workers can travel in and out of our country and we can work towards welcoming tourists back to our shores.”
Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Home quarantine arrangements will only apply to Australians or permanent residents; foreign nationals will still need to seek an inbound exemption at this stage, however these arrangements will be revised at a later date.
Australian arrivals will need to be fully immunised with a vaccine approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). There are currently four approved for use:
- AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria)
- Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
Additionally the TGA has recommended that the Sinovac and Covishield vaccines be recognised, but these require further approval.
Australians aged under 12, as well as those who cannot be vaccinated on medical grounds, will be treated as ‘vaccinated’ for the purposes of quarantine.
International travel will be accompanied by a vaccine passport, with further details to be finalised over the coming weeks.
Qantas to Bring Forward International Flights
Qantas will bring forward the restart of theri international flights to 14th November, starting with three weekly flights to both London and Los Angeles.
Utilising Boeing 787-9 aircraft, the first week of flights will be ‘Points Planes’ – all seats will be available at the lowest Classic Flight Reward rates.
Fares are now on sale for Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families and some visa holders. Fares start from AU$1662 ($1195) return for Sydney-Los Angeles and AU$1869 ($1350) return for Sydney-London.
As previously indicated, all passengers on Qantas’ international flights will be required to be fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved or recognised vaccine (some exemptions for medical reasons and children). They will also be required to return a negative PCR COVID test 72 hours prior to departure.
“We’d already sold out some of our international flights for December and seen strong demand on flights to and from London and Los Angeles, so we’re confident there will be a lot of interest in these earlier services.”
Alan Joyce, CEO, Qantas