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Australia to lift travel ban from November, international flights to resume soon

While no official dates have been announced yet, Sydney-based Qantas Airways has said international flights to London and Los Angeles will resume from November 14.
International flights to and from Australia are expected to resume from November. (Image for representation)(Unsplash)
Published on Oct 01, 2021 05:13 PM IST
By | Written by Sharmita Kar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Australia has announced plans to lift the travel ban for international flights arriving from overseas countries from November after a prolonged period of 18 months as the nation imposed some of the toughest restrictions to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The decision comes as nearly 80 per cent of the population aged 16 and older have been fully vaccinated, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday. However, no official date has been announced yet welcoming international tourists back.

Australians have had to argue for rare exemptions from the travel restrictions, among the most stringent any democracy in the world imposed on March 20 last year. Many people failed to reach relatives' death beads, missed funerals and weddings simply because Australia was trying to keep the Covid-19 disease at bay.

The only exceptions to the travel ban were government employees and essential workers but tourism was never accepted as a reason to cross the border.

“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,” Morrison said, as quoted by Associated Press.

New South Wales is expected to become the first state to reach the 80 per cent vaccination benchmark while Sydney's airport will be the first to resume international flights, the Australian prime minister said. 


Sydney-based Qantas Airways has already announced that international flights to London and Los Angeles would resume from November 14.

“We'll be working towards complete quarantine-free travel for certain countries, such as New Zealand, when it is safe to do so,” he said.

Australia had earlier imposed a cap on the number of citizens and permanent residents allowed to return each week to reduce pressure on two-week hotel quarantine, amid reports of the highly contagious delta variant. The cap would only apply to the unvaccinated under the new regime. 

At the same time, those fully vaccinated will be able to quarantine at home and for only a week.

Australia has also added Indian-made Covishield and China's Sinovac to a list of Covid-19 vaccines recognised by the country.

Travel restrictions will remain in place for Australians who chose not to be vaccinated. Meanwhile, those who could not be vaccinated for medical reasons or children too young to get the jab have been exempted.

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