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August 25 – Australia’s panel supports reopening plans regardless of COVID figures
The Melbourne-based Doherty Institute suggested a change on the current zero-cases strategy, to limiting the number of hospitalizations and deaths. This way, Australia could reopen when 80% of its population is fully vaccinated.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s 30 cases or 800 cases, the conclusions are the same, and that’s what the Doherty Institute said… we can do this safely and we do need to do it,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday.
As of today, only 30% of Australia’s adult population has been fully vaccinated.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that Australia will be reopening its international borders for tourism anytime in the near future, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other government officials have announced multiple times.
COVID situation in Australia
As of September 20, the island nation has had 87,134 cases of COVID-19 – a very small number compared to other countries of its size – and 1,167 people have died of the disease in the country.
Australia reopening tourism: Update archives
July 29 – Australia-New Zealand travel bubble paused at least until October, 2021
The Trans-Tasman travel agreement between Australia and New Zealand has been shut down for 8 weeks due to a spike in coronavirus cases in Sydney.
“There are now multiple outbreaks, and in differing stages of containment, that have forced three states into lockdown. The health risk to New Zealanders from these cases is increasing,” told reporters Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern.
Sydney reported 239 new cases in the last hours making it the worst outbreak seen in months. The state’s premier, Gladys Berejiklian, announced the enforcement of stricter measures in eight areas “of concern.”
August 12 – Australia’s expats to seek permission to travel abroad from August 12
Australia heavily tightened its COVID curbs from today, following a spike in coronavirus cases in Sydney and Canberra.
Effective August 12, all people who “ordinarily reside in another country”, meaning, if they “spent more time outside Australia than inside in the last 12 to 24 months” will need to demonstrate they have compelling reasons to leave the country.
Australia is seeing a worrisome epidemiology situation to its standards. Also today, the government called extra military forces to ensure compliance with lockdown measures after its capital Canberra reported its first locally transmitted case with no links to other patients.
“We are making sure that we do not leave any stone unturned in relation to extra (military) resources,” New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said at a media conference in Sydney.
July 10 – Australia to reopen international borders with a new four-phase plan
Different industries have welcomed the four-phase plan released by the government following the National Cabinet meeting on July 2 aimed at reopening international borders.
In phase 1 (vaccine pilot), Australia will continue to minimize community transmission.
In phase 2 (post-vaccination), students and business visitors will be allowed in.
In phase 3 (consolidation), there would be no lockdowns and no limits on returning vaccinated travelers.
In phase 4 (final), life will return to “almost” normal but unvaccinated travelers will still need to do pre- and post-flight testing.
The date where these phases are supposed to happen has not been released yet. However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison expects that the limited number of returning travelers (phase 3), should be in place at least until the beginning of 2022.
June 23 – Australia planning to bring back international students with a new “traffic light” entry system
Australia could trial a pilot program that would bring back international students from a limited number of countries over the months to come.
The new “green light, red light” system would allow vaccinated people “who pose no health risk” to come back to the country after almost a year and a half of closure. (Source: India Today)
The proposal came after Prime Minister Morrison told The Weekend Australian the government will spend the next six months monitoring the spread of new highly-contagious variants, and the effectiveness of vaccines before reopening their international borders.
June 8 – Australia might reopen a travel bubble with the U.K., and the U.S. according to Qantas CEO
Trade and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan has officially announced the federal governments of Australia and New Zealand are working on expanding the existing quarantine-free travel bubble to include at least 5 island countries in the Pacific.
For its part, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said last week that the reasonable next step would be to put the U.S. and U.K. next on the travel bubble agenda.
Minister Tehan immediately backed him up by telling reporters that “Alan has definitely got the right idea”. “We want to build on the success of our travel bubble with New Zealand. Six weeks now, we have had a two-way travel bubble and it is working very well,”
However “[We] have got to remember at the moment there are over 3,000 active cases in the U.K. and the U.S. each day, so still a long way to go there for them in dealing with the virus and obviously, once they can get on top of that, we can start looking at these things,” said Tehan.