Australian residents and citizens can very well look forward to Christmas down under this year. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced today that the country is poised to open its borders to Australian citizens and residents in November, when national vaccination rates for over-16s are expected to reach 80 percent.
This is a promising sign from a country that has some of the strictest border controls in the world. Under current arrangements, travel into Australia is banned for all non-citizens and non-residents, with Australians and permanent residents needing to seek a government-issued exemption to travel. Incoming travellers are also bound to a two-week hotel quarantine that costs upwards of $3,000 Australian dollars.
When borders open in November, vaccinated travellers will only have to complete a seven-day stay-at-home quarantine. However, those who are unvaccinated or who have received a vaccine that's unrecognised by the federal government will still have to do a 14-day quarantine at a government facility.
The country will begin to issue international COVID-19 vaccination certificates on Friday, and is currently in talks with countries to confirm which vaccines will be recognised in international travel bubble agreements. Australia currently recognises vaccines by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, and has just today approved China's Sinovac and India's Covishield vaccines.
For the rest of us who are not citizens or residents of Australia, it might be a while yet before we're able to set sights on Australia's many wonderful attractions (we're dreaming of the vineyards). While we wait patiently, check out fun things to do in October – from creepy Halloween celebrations to mesmerising arts and cultural performances. If you can afford it, Singapore has also launched quarantine-free travel lanes to Germany and Brunei.
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