Australia has outlined plans to lift a pandemic ban on its vaccinated citizens traveling overseas from November. But no date has yet been set for welcoming international tourists back.
Travel restrictions that have trapped most Australians and permanent residents at home over the past 18 months would be removed when 80% of the population aged 16 and older were fully vaccinated, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday.
Australia introduced some of the toughest travel restrictions of any democracy in the world on people entering and leaving the island nation on March 20 last year.
New South Wales would likely become the first state to reach the 80% vaccination benchmark and Sydney’s airport the first to open to international travel.
“We’ve saved lives. We’ve saved livelihoods, but we must work together to ensure that Australians can reclaim the lives that they once had in this country,” Morrison said.
Sydney-based Qantas Airways announced international flights would resume from Nov. 14 to London and Los Angeles.
Morrison offered no clue to when other nationalities would be welcome to visit Australia.
Travel restrictions would not be lifted for Australians who chose not to be vaccinated. People who could not be vaccinated for medical reasons or children too young to get the jab would have the same privileges as those inoculated.
While Australia’s international borders will soon open, several state borders remain closed indefinitely.