Scott Morrison Confirmed That International Travel Will Be Back Next Month, As A Friday Treat

International Travel

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed in today’s press conference that from next month, Australia’s borders will open to allow international travel in and out of Australia.

Our borders have been closed since March 20 last year, and will be opened up again next month as states hit 80% double vaccination rates — you can find up to date projections of when this will occur over at COVID Live.

Explaining how international travel will work, the Prime Minister said a few boxes need to be ticked to get to this point, the first being at-home quarantine, which is currently being trialled in NSW and SA.

Morrison says that these trials “need to conclude and be successful so they can be rolled out at scale”. So it certainly seemed NSW and SA will be first cabs off the rank to welcome international travellers, with other states to follow once they’ve got home quarantine processes locked and loaded.

The seven-day home quarantine will only be an option for “Australian citizens and permanent residents fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved for use in Australia or recognised by the TGA”. 

In his presser, Morrison announced a couple more vaccines that have been approved by the TGA “as recognised vaccines for the purpose of determining incoming international travellers.” Sinovac and Covishield will join Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Janssen and Moderna on the list of legit jabs recognised by Australia.

Mr Morrison also said that for Aussie currently stranded overseas, the government will be offering “facilitated commercial flights” into states and territories that agree to start home quarantine trials.

Excitingly, he added: “And we’ll be working towards complete quarantine-free travel for certain countries such as New Zealand when it is safe to do so.”

Current travel caps will be rolled back at some point, with the PM adding: “We will move to a phase where there will be caps lifted if you’re vaccinated. [Flight caps and quarantine] will remain for non-vaccinated and there will be the managed quarantine process for the 14 days.”

The ABC reports that COVID-19 testing will be a part of international travel, but “the government is looking at using rapid antigen testing as part of the arrangement.”

So how will it actually work? Well, as we’ve come to know over the past 18+ months, QR codes are our best mates.

The PM says there will be a globally recognisable code that vaccinated Aussies will use for international travel.

“Australians who want to travel overseas once restrictions are removed will be able to access an internationally recognised proof of vaccination document… to prove their vaccination status abroad,” he said.

“That will include a QR code that is readable globally. It works in with the system that is are used all around the world.”

Concluding his spiel, he reminded us that international travel coming back now was always the plan, saying: “No surprises here. This is what we agreed to do. That we said to Australians — we get to 80%, you can leave the country and you can come back again.

“If you’re overseas, you should be able to come back if you’re a fully vaccinated Australian resident or citizen. I’m going to keep the deal with Australians when it comes to the national plan. I’m going to keep the deal which said — you go and get vaccinated and we’re going to ensure that the many liberties and opportunities that you have will be restored.

“We’ve all understood it. We’ve all worked through it. We’ve all suffered through it. But the time has come to give Australians their lives back. We’re getting ready for that and Australia will be ready for take off very soon.”

It’s an exciting step for people wanting to get overseas to visit family and friends, and for Aussies stuck on the other side of the world wanting to come back in. International travel: it’s really happening, people!

Now, to find my long-lost passport…