Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirms borders to reopen in November

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed Australia will open its borders to the world next month after they were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking to the media on Friday afternoon, Morrison said Australia was "ready to take its next steps to safely reopen to the world".

The announcement was made on the same day New South Wales recorded its highest ever death toll from COVID-19 with 15.

A government statement said Australia's vaccination rates are at over 78 percent with double dose rates nationwide at 55 percent and the country is on track to reach 70 percent in some regions over the next week.

"Australian families can be reunited, Australian workers can travel in and out of our country, and we can work towards welcoming tourists back to our shores," Morrison said.

"Many countries around the world have now safely reopened to international travel and it will shortly be time for Australia to take the next step."

The new rules for international travel will mainly rely on home quarantine.

Requirements for Australian travellers after borders reopen:

  • Seven day home quarantine for Australian citizens and permanent residents fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved for use in Australia or 'recognised' by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
  • 14-day managed quarantine for anyone not vaccinated or vaccinated with a vaccine not approved or recognised by the TGA
  • Australian citizens and permanent residents who cannot be vaccinated - for example if they are under 12 or have a medical condition - will be treated as vaccinated for the purposes of their travel

Different states and territories will begin this programme when their vaccination rates achieve an appropriate threshold, but all are expected to be onboard with the system at some time during November.

"The Government's intention is that once changes are made in November, the current overseas travel restrictions related to COVID-19 will be removed and Australians will be able to travel subject to any other travel advice and limits, as long as they are fully vaccinated and those countries' border settings allow," Morrison said.

These changes mean there will be no travel restrictions for vaccinated Australians entering or leaving the country.

Morrison said the government will also work towards completely quarantine-free travel for certain countries, such as New Zealand, when it is safe to do so.

Australians who want to travel overseas once restrictions are removed will be able to access an internationally recognised proof of vaccination document in the coming weeks to prove their vaccination status abroad. 

The proof of vaccination for international travel or 'vaccination passport' will include a QR code that is compatible with systems around the world.

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