International travel is on track to reopen for fully vaccinated Australian travellers under Phase C of the National Plan, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison expecting a new system to be rolled out in November with proof of vaccination documents.
"It will be time very soon that we'll be able to open those international borders again," the Prime Minister told a press conference this afternoon.
The new arrangements include seven-day home quarantine for returning Australian citizens and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated, but this will only be valid with vaccinations that are recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
In positive news for many Australians struck overseas and also for the higher education sector, the TGA took steps today towards recognising the commonly used Sinovac and Covishield vaccines.
People who are unable to be vaccinated, for example if they are under 12 or have a medical condition, will be treated as vaccinated for the purposes of travel.
The implementation of the home quarantine plan is still subject to the results of home quarantine pilot programs in New South Wales and South Australia.
For arriving travellers who are unvaccinated the standard 14-day managed quarantine would apply.
States and territories are however set to begin this program at different times given their varying vaccination rates, but Morrison said when they hit the 80 per cent vaccination target and move into Phase C the caps at airports will be lifted.
"We've already got the technology and the other things in place that will support those states being able under Phase C of the plan to enable their residents and citizens to leave the country and return, and also those residents and Australians who are overseas to return to Australia if they are vaccinated with uncapped restrictions on their arrival in those states," the PM said.
"We're also offering facilitated commercial flights for Australians overseas into states and territories that agree to commence those home quarantine trials, and I look forward to discussing that further with my colleagues this afternoon.
"Once changes are made in November, the current overseas travel restrictions related to COVID-19 will be removed."
The government is also working towards establishing quarantine-free travel to certain countries such as New Zealand when it is safe to do so.
"Once restrictions are remove, we'll be able to access an internationally recognised proof of vaccination document - that will be in the coming weeks - to prove their vaccination status abroad, and that proof of vaccination for international travel will include a QR code that is readable globally."
Updated at 1:17pm AEST on 1 October 2021.
This update is brought to you by Employment Hero.
Click here to go to Employment Hero’s COVID-19 Resource Hub for essential resources to help employers, managers and HR specialists navigate the ongoing pandemic.
Help us deliver quality journalism to you.
As a free and independent news site providing daily updates
during a period of unprecedented challenges for businesses everywhere
we call on your support