Australia targets Christmas reopening date

SYDNEY, 27 September 2021: After repeated lockdowns and bans extending even to state-to-state travel, Australians may see borders reopening by Christmas.

The first hint came from the minister for trade, tourism and investments last week, according to a CNN report.

“I do empathize with the Australians who have been denied the opportunity to travel overseas this year,” Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said during a talk that was organised by the National Press Club of Australia but broadcast online due to coronavirus restrictions.

He added: “It’s another reason why everyone should get vaccinated, and we have to stick to the national plan that will see our international border open up – at this rate by Christmas at the latest.”

He warned: “It’s incredibly important that we’re doing that preparatory work,” noting the opening borders would follow when the nation reaches an 80% national vaccination rate out of a population of around 25 million. As of last week, about 38% of Australians had received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

The slow pickup rate on taking the jab prompted authorities to launch a  domestic advertisement tagged “It’s Our Best Shot for Travel” that urged people to get vaccinated.

Visitors to Australia will need to show that they have been fully vaccinated before entering the country.

Australia will also test “vaccine passports” with other countries, possibly Singapore, Japan and the US, to fine-tune the process for Australians travelling overseas.

Qantas said it would slowly resume limited international flights beginning in October.

Australia closed its borders to non-residents in March 2020 and employed a mandatory quarantine system, which severely limited the number of citizens and residents of Australia returning to the country each week.

(Source: CNN)

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