Australia Covid travel: Prime Minister Scott Morrison reveals plan to reopen international borders to fully vaccinated citizens

(CNN) — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday, October 1 introduced plans to reopen the nation’s borders to fully vaccinated citizens and everlasting residents, transferring from a strict zero-Covid technique to a mannequin of residing with the virus.

Morrison additionally mentioned that with 55% of the nation now fully vaccinated and first dose charges approaching 80%, the federal government “has been finalizing plans so Australian households will be reunited, Australian staff can journey out and in of our nation, and we are able to work in direction of welcoming vacationers again to our shores.”

“Many international locations world wide have now safely reopened to international journey and it’ll shortly be time for Australia to take the subsequent step,” he added.

Australia’s powerful restrictions, mixed with localized measures together with lockdowns, have helped the nation largely management Covid-19 inside its borders. Thus far, Australia has reported greater than 107,000 confirmed instances of the virus and 1,311 deaths, in accordance to knowledge from Johns Hopkins College.

However as states and territories have struggled to include outbreaks of the highly-contagious Delta variant in current months, the Australian authorities mentioned it had been pressured to reexamine its zero-Covid method.

Underneath the plan outlined by Morrison Friday, Australians and everlasting residents could be allowed to quarantine at residence — which might primarily take away the caps limiting the variety of folks allowed into the nation. These vacationers would additionally solely face seven days of quarantine.

The transfer was “anticipated” to observe the completion of residence quarantine trials in two states, Morrison mentioned.

“To reopen safely and to keep safely open, firstly we’d like residence quarantine pilots in New South Wales and South Australia to conclude and achieve success to allow them to position out at scale.”

For these not vaccinated with an permitted shot, 14 days’ quarantine in a authorities managed facility will nonetheless be in place.

Australia’s Therapeutic Items Administration had beforehand permitted 4 vaccines — made by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. Morrison mentioned Friday that two extra had been added to the checklist as of Friday — China’s Sinovac and India’s Covishield.

“Australian citizens and everlasting residents who can’t be vaccinated — for instance if they’re below 12 or have a medical situation — will probably be handled as vaccinated for the needs of their journey,” a press release from the federal government added.

With out naming an actual date, Morrison estimated that an 80% fully vaccinated goal set by the federal government as a situation for the border modifications to come into impact was probably to be reached someday in November.
Hundreds of Australians have been stranded abroad for months due to the nation’s powerful border circumstances, which has led to big frustration amongst citizens who felt their nation had deserted them.

Final Christmas, an estimated 39,000 Australian residents weren’t ready to make it again into the nation to have a good time the vacation.

Whereas the brand new border opening will permit them to return, Morrison was much less clear on when people who find themselves not citizens or everlasting residents will probably be ready to go to the nation.

“We may even work in direction of fully quarantine-free journey for sure international locations, reminiscent of New Zealand, when it’s protected to accomplish that,” Morrison mentioned Friday.

However Jennifer Evans, chief govt officer of the Nationwide Affiliation of Testing Authorities, mentioned she was ready to hear how the federal government deliberate to deal with Covid-19 testing for incoming vacationers, given even vaccinated folks can carry the illness.

“Proper now there’s nothing mandated by the federal authorities. I am asking that we observe the UK authorities’s instance and require accreditation for all labs and amenities doing pre-travel testing,” she mentioned in a press release.

“Let’s make testing imply one thing and provides Australians confidence of their outcomes.”

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