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Boarding sooner? PM tips overseas travel 'well before' Christmas

Scott Morrison has levelled up the prospect of Australia's international borders reopening well before Christmas while defending harsh restrictions lasting longer than most of the world.

Scott Morrison has levelled up the prospect of Australia’s international borders reopening well before Christmas while defending harsh restrictions lasting longer than most of the world.

It feels like every day is a different story when it comes to the federal government committing to a date when Australia’s international border will reopen.

The positive though is that thankfully, the timeline seems to be getting closer, with PM Morrison moving from a “by Christmas,” forecast last week to telling American broadcaster CBS News yesterday “It could happen well before that,” while in the United States.

The details we do know are that this would allow people to leave the country more freely before establishing more travel bubbles like the paused trans-Tasman arrangement.

Australia is currently in discussions with Singapore, Japan, South Korea, the United States, United Kingdom and the Pacific nations.

Though where we’ll likely be able to depart or arrive other than Sydney International Airport is another mystery yet to be revealed.

Departures_SYD

While the debate over internal borders continues as immunisation rates rise, the federal government is hardening its stance on international travel.

As part of the federal government’s four-phase plan, overseas travel would restart when the nation hits 80 per cent vaccination coverage for people aged 16 and above.

Currently, it’s estimated that this could happen around November 12.

Australia’s international border ban is currently set to lift on December 17, with 7-day home quarantine being trialled in NSW.

The PM said the first steps would allow Australians to leave and fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents to return home.

Morrison was also quizzed about significant contrasts between Australia and the US on pandemic management.

“We’re different societies,” he said.

“In Australia, when it comes to public health, we’re a very pragmatic nation. The virus doesn’t care what you believe. The virus cares about how it can come and take your life.

“We’ve introduced what we believe are practical controls that have saved tens of thousands of lives.”

More than 700,000 people have succumbed to the disease in America, while Australia’s death toll is 1243.

Port_Macquarie_NSW
Port Macquarie, NSW

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has also revealed the state’s roadmap beyond 80 per cent double-dose vaccination coverage.

This includes the resumption of travel to regional NSW, pushed back from 70 per cent coverage, and the ability to stand and drink at the pub.

On Friday, National cabinet will meet to discuss state and territory border restrictions and plans to universally open the country and reunite loved ones in time for Christmas.

“There comes a time when you’ve got to honour the arrangement you’ve made with the Australian people, and that is when you get to 80 per cent vaccination, it’s very clear that you can start opening up,” Mr Morrison told the Seven Network in an interview while he was in Washington.

He said at that stage; there will still be some common-sense controls, like QR code logins and mask-wearing in certain circumstances.

“But, you know, there comes a time when you’ve just got to move on and get on with it,” he said.