After 18 months, Australians will finally be allowed to freely travel overseas without the need for exemptions as the Prime Minister confirms that the travel ban will be lifted in weeks.
Scott Morrison announced on the show Sunrise this morning that Health Minister Greg Hunt has signed off on the agreement to lift the international travel ban on 1 November.
The new arrangements mean that double-vaccinated Aussies will be able to travel overseas without having to get the permissions of the Department of Home Affairs from that date.
“Australians who are double vaccinated will be able to travel overseas,” the PM said, adding that he was “looking forward” to seeing the travel ban repealed.
At the start of the pandemic, Australia introduced some of the world’s toughest travel restrictions, barring anyone from leaving or entering the country without written permission and imposing strict hotel quarantine measures on arrival.
The travel ban, which came in in March 2020 as the pandemic took off, has been renewed every three months and was recently updated once again, due to be lifted in December. That date appears to have been scrapped, which Morrison attributed to Australia’s higher than expected vaccination rate.
“Today I can tell you that Australia’s first dose vaccination rate is now higher than the United Kingdom, so well done Australia!,” he said.
Currently, 74% of Aussies over the age of 16 have had two doses of the vaccine, while 87% have had at least one.
While the rules allow anyone in Australia to leave without a travel exemption, only citizens, permanent residents, and their immediate families will be allowed into the country for the time being.
Of course, other countries still have travel restrictions in place and quarantine may be required upon arrival.
Singapore is one nation that the government has been working on getting restriction-free travel for Australians and the country announced overnight that they would be introducing a travel bubble with Australia and 10 European countries.
Singapore is a frequent stop-over location for flights to and from Europe.
The new rules mean Australians will be able to fly in and out of Singapore quarantine-free from 8 November, along with permanent residents and their families, those travelling on business, and international students.
In order to fly, double-vaxxed Aussies will need to secure one of the government-issued vaccine passports, which can be accessed through MyGov and stored in either print or digital copy.