2021-10-01 11:02:08 Australia Accelerates Plans to Lift Pandemic Travel Bans

Australia Accelerates Plans to Lift Pandemic Travel Bans

Australia’s travel bans will be lifted in November, according to a plan unveiled by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday. It is the second time in ten days that officials have accelerated the country’s plans to relax travel restrictions.

Australia was set to keep its borders closed until 2022 until last month. Dan Tehan, the tourism minister, then stated that they could reopen by Christmas.

“It’s time to give Australians their lives back,” Mr. Morrison said, announcing that he would begin to reverse a policy that has only allowed some Australians and others to enter the country since March 2020 and has barred all outbound trips except for essential work.

Australia’s strict Covid restrictions, including strict border rules and local lockdowns, have been lauded for aiding in the containment of infections, but they have also separated families.

Mr. Morrison is urging state leaders to ease lockdown measures that have hampered the economy and subjected more than half of the population to strict lockdown orders for months.

The actions are being taken in response to a recent surge in infections across the country. On Thursday, authorities in Victoria, the state that includes Melbourne, reported a record 1,438 daily cases, one-third of which were traced to illegal social gatherings, including parties for last weekend’s Grand Final, Australia’s Super Bowl.

Beginning next month, different regions will reopen at different times based on vaccination rates. States and territories will be able to reopen to international travel once 80 percent of their eligible residents have been fully vaccinated.

New South Wales, which includes Sydney, is on track to be the first region to reach the 80% mark, and could serve as the first litmus test for Mr. Morrison’s push to allow Australians to travel abroad. According to data released by Australian officials, the state has fully vaccinated approximately 65.2 percent of its eligible residents.

According to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford, approximately 44 percent of Australia’s population has been fully vaccinated.

When the borders open, fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be quarantined at home for seven days upon entry. Foreign tourists will not be able to visit right away, but the government has stated that it is working to allow them to do so.

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Australia Accelerates Plans to Lift Pandemic Travel Bans