Australia to Ease 18-month CCP Virus Travel Ban From November

The Australian government announced on Friday that the nation’s 18-month travel ban will be lifted for some states and territories starting next month, allowing stranded citizens to return home and people fully vaccinated against the CCP virus to travel abroad.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined the details of its plans to ease one of the toughest travel restrictions in the world that was imposed by the government on March 20, 2020, banning most people from entering and leaving the island nation.

“States and territories will begin this program at different times given their varying vaccination rates but we expect the system to commence in November,” Morrison said in a statement.

“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,” he added.

Lockdown Continues
Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference at Kirribilli House in Sydney, Australia, on July 16, 2021. (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Morrison offered no clue as to when other nationalities would be able to visit Australia again, although plans were being discussed. No timetable was made public yet.

However, it is possible that the restrictions will not be lifted nationwide as it will be up to individual states and territories to ease restrictions once they reach an 80 percent vaccination rate threshold of the population aged 16 and older.

New South Wales would likely become the first state to reach the 80 percent vaccination benchmark and Sydney’s airport the first to open to international travel, Morrison said.

Sydney-based Qantas Airways announced international flights would resume from Nov. 14 to London and Los Angeles.

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Two people watch from a beach as a Qantas plane taxies on the runway at Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, on Aug. 20, 2015. (Rick Rycroft/AP Photo)

Officials also noted that states will roll out a seven-day quarantine order for fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents returning to Australia, which can be done at home. This changes from the nation’s current rule, which requires a two-week quarantine in a hotel.

Those who have not been vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, or who have received a vaccine not recognized by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), will be forced to quarantine for 14 days at a hotel or a dedicated facility at their own expense.

Australia on Friday added China’s Sinovac and Indian-made AstraZeneca shots—known as Covishield—to a list of vaccines that Australians can take and be recognized as fully vaccinated by the TGA.

Travel restrictions would not be lifted for Australians who chose not to be vaccinated. Testing for those fully vaccinated is expected to remain a requirement for international travel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.