It has been a long, long pandemic for Australians who have not been able to leave their sunny shores without jumping through many hoops and obtaining rarely given exemption notices.
Finally, Australia has been pressured by its citizens long and hard enough that the government is finally beginning to lift what have been described as the toughest boarder restrictions in the world. Finally it looks as though the thousands of families that have been separated by the oceans may soon be able to reunite.
Starting November, fully vaccinated Australians will no longer have to seek an exemption to leave the country. However, they will not be able to travel the world as only a handful of countries are on the Australian fly list.
These include the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Greece, Germany, South Africa, and The United States of America,
“On Monday, Australians will be taking off again,” Prime Minister, Scott Morrison declared.
A half million Australians have already downloaded their international vaccination certificate, a requirement to be allowed out of the island country.
Coming into Australia is still being capped at Australian citizens or permanent residents with each state and territory looking at their quarantine mandates on an individual basis.
Currently all states have the very few people arriving in Australia quarantining for two weeks at a government sanctioned hotel at an exorbitant cost of over $2000 AUD, paid by the traveler.
Queensland is the first state experimenting with at home quarantining and other states and territories are expected to follow suit. A shortened quarantine time, and possibly no quarantine for vaccinated travelers is also expected to be announced as Christmas approaches.
The fully vaccinated rate in Australian adults is approaching the benchmark 80% that the government has previously said would be required in order to resume international travel.
As the vaccination rates continue to head toward the benchmark, the minister of Home Affairs, Karen Andrews assures that non-citizens will soon be allowed entry into the ‘sunburnt country’, also.
“Before the end of the year, we anticipate welcoming fully vaccinated skilled workers and international students,” Andrews said.
While there is still no definitive timeline for when international tourism will again start up, Morrison believes it won’t be until the first half of 2022, explaining, “We’ll see how Australians coming back first goes.”
He added, “We don’t want to see what’s happened in other parts of the world where people have moved too fast.”
International airlines, including Australia’s two major international carriers, Qantas and Virgin Australia are responding to the ‘soft opening’ of Australia with Qantas announcing it will operate three weekly return flights between Sydney and London and three weekly return flights between Sydney and Los Angeles starting in mid-November
More flights may come online as Qantas has promised to meet the pent up demand for families to finally reunite, especially over the Christmas period.