Australia’s borders are set to reopen by Christmas at the latest, Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said at a National Press Club of Australia event on Wednesday (Sept. 22, 2021).
Australians in states with over 80% vaccination rate will be able to travel to any destination. “People will be able to freely travel outside of Australia, with no restrictions or no limitation … Obviously, it will be dependent on the requirements that are put in place of the countries that they are travelling with,” the minister said, as reported by news.com.au
“We have to stick to the national plan that will see our international border open up — at this rate by Christmas at the latest.”
The future of Australia’s borders are dependant on the talks on potential travel bubbles with several countries too, which are being explored to reduce how long travellers have to quarantine, Tehan added.
“That will mean there will not be the restrictions on 14-day quarantine that otherwise would be the case for people returning to Australia,” he said.
Reports, however, do not mention whether non-residents will be allowed to enter Australia.
Opening of Australia’s borders are dependant on vaccination rate
On Sept. 14, 2021, Australian authorities extended a coronavirus lockdown of the nation’s capital Canberra to mid-October, saying the measure was necessary while vaccinations are ramped up.
About 400,000 Canberra residents have been under stay-at-home orders since August 12, when a single case of COVID-19 was detected.
Australian Capital Territory chief minister Andrew Barr said authorities wanted to limit transmission while ensuring Canberra becomes “highly vaccinated”.
“This is the safest path forward and it will lead to a safer Christmas, a safer summer holiday period and a safer 2022,” he told reporters.
Australia’s vaccine rollout has picked up pace in recent months as millions of people under lockdown in the highly populated southeast — including Sydney and Melbourne — sought out the jab.
State and federal leaders have agreed on a national roadmap for reopening, which could see travel and border restrictions largely lifted when double-dose vaccination rates hit 70% and 80%.
Australia has recorded more than 75,000 cases and over 1,100 deaths since the pandemic began.
Additional reporting by AFP