Australian PM, Scott Morrison has said that vaccinated Aussies gearing up for international travel would still need to quarantine but may be able to skip the hotels and self-isolate at home instead.
With the two-way quarantine-free trans-Tasman bubble kicking off on Monday 19 April, optimistic Aussies are now wondering when and where they’ll next be able to travel overseas.
ScoMo had recently hinted about an easing of international border restrictions, and with Qantas still hoping to stay on track for its end of October international travel restart (fingers crossed), there are so many questions about how it’s all going to work.
Okay, so what’s going on here?
According to a recent report by the ABC, ScoMo said that people could first be permitted to leave Australia and travel internationally for “essential reasons” such as business, medical, important family events, and funerals – but has not yet given any dates nor further details on what this could mean.
He also said that vaccinated Aussies allowed to travel overseas and return home might be able to skip the pricey hotel quarantine, and instead, opt for 14-days “at home or under some other less stringent environment than you have with hotel quarantine.”
“What I’m working on right now, is that where an Australian is vaccinated under our program, when they will be able to travel overseas,” Mr Morrison told a community forum in Perth.
“I would think in the initial stages, particularly for essential purposes, business, things like that, medical reasons, friends and family, important events, funerals, so on.
“That could be done and return to Australia without the need for a hotel quarantine of 14 days and to be able to do that either at home or under some other less stringent environment than you have with hotel quarantine.
“Now that would require being vaccinated and I think that would be an important incentive for people to do that.”
However, ScoMo also gave a warning, saying the (delayed) vaccination program was not a “silver bullet” and that Australia would have to prepare for the potential of “1,000 cases a week or more” if international border restrictions were to be widely lifted.
“Now, it is true that our most vulnerable populations would be vaccinated, but I don’t think Australians … would welcome restrictions and closures and border shutting and all of those things again.” He told Nine radio.
As per the federal government’s latest prediction, by the end of October, most vulnerable Aussies at least should have been vaccinated, so does this mean borders could be reopened and we’d just have to carry on with life as normal?
Or are the rumours of very little international travel outside of bubble arrangements until 2024 more accurate? It seems we’re receiving an awful lot of mixed messages at the moment which has become a “clickbait” dream for mainstream media and consequently added to traveller fear and anxiety.
Based on many countries now experiencing a third wave, globally, it would seem that COVID-19 will not be going away in the coming months, so can we, as a nation, find an effective way of managing some sort of normality amidst the chaos of the pandemic?
Still lots of questions but no answers
Delving into this latest update, the takeaways and questions would seem as follows:
- Though this has not been confirmed, the federal government is eluding to the notion that they will only allow Australians to leave and return to Australia if they have been vaccinated.
- If you have been vaccinated, why would you need to quarantine at all on your arrival back to Australia? This would likely not be the case when arriving in another country.
- What happens to those who choose not to be, or cannot medically, be vaccinated?
- What about Australians who are wanting to repatriate? Would they also be able to quarantine from home?
- What exactly classes as a business trip? A couple of meetings? How would this be managed and how long would the process take to be approved?
- If the majority of the population were to be vaccinated, would that mean home quarantine could be axed altogether?
Clearly, there are so many variables and scenarios here that lead to endless rabbit holes and the same outcome – which is still, no certainty for travellers to book or the travel industry to confidently plan to restart international travel.
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