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International travel to resume from next month

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that international travel for Australians will resume from next month.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that international travel for fully vaccinated Australians will resume from next month.

Mr Morrison said today rising vaccination rates enabled people who have had both doses of a TGA-approved vaccine to leave Australia and then to quarantine inside their homes on their return for seven days.

"It's time to give Australians their lives back," Mr Morrison said. 

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a press conference at The Lodge in Canberra on Friday 1 October 2021.

Mr Morrison said Australia would move to Phase C of the National Plan "next month", as states hit 80 per cent vaccination levels. 

Home quarantine trials in several states will need to be completed and proven to be sustainable at widespread levels. 

"So as I said in the national plan, we will move to a phase where there will be caps lifted if you're vaccinated," Mr Morrison said.  

"Caps will remain for non-vaccinated and there will be the managed quarantine process for the 14 days.  

"We're also offering facilitated commercial flights for Australians overseas into states and territories that agree to commence the home quarantine trials." 

He said Australia had seen great success in saving lives with the measures used to combat COVID-19 outbreaks. 

"But Australians have made great sacrifices to achieve that result, and that has been a heavy burden," Mr Morrison said.  

"We've saved lives. We've saved livelihoods, but we must work together to ensure that Australians can reclaim the lives that they once had in this country." 

What are the details on the National Plan for travel?

In a media release issued before he spoke today, Mr Morrison said large parts of the country would be moving to Phase B and Phase C of the National Plan – the latter of which will permit international travel. 

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Following completion of home quarantine pilots in New South Wales and South Australia, it is anticipated that states and territories that are ready to do so will roll out:

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A passenger walks past a Qantas jet at the International terminal at Sydney Airport

Australians who cannot be vaccinated – such as under-12s and people with certain medical conditions – will be treated as vaccinated.  

Travel caps are also set to be increased, and removed for vaccinated Australians. 

There will be no restrictions on which countries will be open for travel.

Mr Morrison said Australia would be working towards completely quarantine-free travel for countries such as New Zealand.  

Australians who want to travel overseas once restrictions are removed will be able to access an internationally recognised proof of vaccination document that will be available in the coming weeks. 

"And that proof of vaccination for international travel will include a QR code that is readable globally," Mr Morrison said.

Forward steps for international arrivals

Mr Morrison said the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) had advised two further COVID-19 vaccines should be approved for travellers to Australia. 

COVID-Shield and Sinovac are set to be added to the list of approved jabs. 

The prime minister said the advice would have an impact on industries that relied on skilled migrants, as well as universities, with the vaccines widely used in China and India, and through South-East Asia. 

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Mr Morrison also said there would be no "red light, green light" travel policy for Australia. 

He has conceded that state border closures could see international travellers locked out of their own state. 

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"If you travel from interstate, out of Sydney, you will have to be aware that your state may not let you back in," Mr Morrison said. 

But he said he would not stop people from coming back to Australia on that basis. 

Instead, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will incorporate COVID-19 into its existing warnings system. 

Mr Morrison has denied that the purpose-built quarantine facilities are pointless with Australia moving away from hotel quarantine. 

He said his thinking on the facilities had been based on "long-term need". 

"Hotel quarantine has a use-by date on it. Fourteen-day quarantine has a use-by date on it," he said. 

"But the need to have some specialist facilities, that meets a strategic need for the medium to long term." 

Source: 9News

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