Australia set to reopen its international border after 18-month ban

Australia will start to reopen its international border from November, allowing fully vaccinated travellers into the country.

Only Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to enter at first and they will need to quarantine for seven days.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said individual states will have to achieve vaccination rates above 80% before flights can arrive in their airports freely.

Speaking during a televised media conference, Mr Morrison said: “It’s time to give Australians their lives back.

“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.”

Under the plan, Australians who are fully vaccinated will be able to travel abroad and complete a seven-day quarantine at home on their return.

People who are not vaccinated will be required to undertake 14 days of quarantine at a hotel when they return.

Mr Morrison said his government was working towards quarantine-free travel with countries such as New Zealand when “safe to do so”.

An Australian government source said plans were being discussed to allow foreign visitors to enter the country – but it was not possible to yet state a timetable.

Australia’s international border closed in March 2020.

Since then, only a limited number of people have been granted a permit to leave the country for critical business or humanitarian reasons.

Australia’s strict border closure has been credited with keeping both fatalities and infections relatively low.

It has recorded just over 107,000 COVID-19 cases and about 1,300 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The country on Friday reported 2,084 new COVID-19 cases, the bulk of which were detected in New South Wales and Victoria states.

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