Australia is set to ease its 18-month long international border restrictions from November, allowing vaccinated citizens into the country with a pre-flight Covid-19 test and seven days of home quarantine.
This will do away with the mandatory 14-day quarantine in a hotel at their own expense.
The plan’s first phase will focus on citizens and permanent residents, with further changes anticipated to allow foreign travellers to enter the country.
Since March 2020, Australia has had one of the toughest Covid-19 bans imposed internationally, allowing only a limited number of people to leave the country.
However, the prime minister recently announced plans to reopen international borders once the national vaccination rate for individuals aged over 16 reaches 80%.
New South Wales is said to be the state most likely to reach this 80% mark before other states.
In a statement, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “States and territories will begin this programme at different times given their varying vaccination rates but we expect the system to commence in November.
“Under Phase B and C of the national plan, 14-day managed quarantine caps apply to unvaccinated arrivals. These will return to previous levels at Phase B of the national plan. We will work with states and territories to remove all travel caps on vaccinated Australians.”
In the wake of this announcement, Qantas Airways said that it would push forward the resumption of some of its international flights a month before initially planned, namely to 14 November.
The carrier would start with three weekly return flights from Sydney to London, UK, and Los Angeles, US.
Morrison said: “These changes mean there will be no travel restrictions if you are a vaccinated Australian entering or leaving our shores. We will also work towards completely quarantine-free travel for certain countries such as New Zealand when it is safe to do so.
“Testing is expected to continue to be a requirement of international travel, but subject to further medical advice, rapid antigen tests may be used.”
Last month, the US Government decided to relax Covid-19-related travel restrictions in the country by allowing fully vaccinated air travellers from 33 countries globally.