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Australia to open international borders from November

Australia to open international borders from November
October 1, 2021

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that the nation’s international borders will reopen from November.

Closed since March 2020, with some of the world's strictest border rules - even banning its own residents from leaving the country for the most part - Prime Minister Morrison made the reopening announcement this afternoon having spoken to state and territory leaders in the National Cabinet.

While the strict border policy was credited for success in containing Coronavirus in the early stages of the pandemic, it has been less successful since in dealing with the Delta variant of the virus.

At present, people can leave Australia - which has recorded more than 107,000 cases of COVID-19 and just over 1,300 deaths - only for exceptional reasons such as essential work or visiting a dying relative.

Entry is permitted for citizens and others with exemptions, but there are tight caps on arrival numbers.

According to Prime Minister Morrison, the reopening see Australians eligible to travel overseas when their state's vaccination rate hit 80%. However, speaking at press briefing Prime Minister Morrison said travel would not immediately be open to overseas visitors, but advised that the Australian Government was working "towards welcoming tourists back to our shores".

Prime Miniser Morrison said Australia's mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine - which costs each traveller $3,000 - would be replaced by seven days of home quarantine for vaccinated Australians or permanent residents while unvaccinated arrivals will still have to quarantine for 14 days in hotels.

Australian carrier Qantas responded by announcing it would restart its international flying a month earlier. It had already put flights to major overseas destinations on sale from 18th December.

While NSW and Victoria are on track to cross the 80% vaccination threshold, in a few weeks, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia have threatened to keep their borders closed until vaccine rates are even higher.

Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia have managed to maintain Covid rates at or near zero, after shutting their borders to states with infections.

Prime Minister Morrison went on to say that the border closure had “saved lives (and) saved livelihoods, but we must work together to ensure that Australians can reclaim the lives that they once had in this country.”

Image courtesy of Qantas.

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