The Australian government will begin issuing vaccine passports for international travel within weeks, as the country prepares to re-open its borders once 80 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated.
The Prime Minister has also continued to flag that home quarantine will be introduced for returning Australians that are fully vaccinated, noting such a policy will be key to sustainably re-opening Australia’s international borders, which have remained shut since March 2020.
According to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald, international vaccine passports could be issued as soon as October.
The federal government is also currently in discussions with various nations around the globe in order to facilitate travel bubble arrangements for vaccinated travellers.
According to the report, Australia’s vaccine passports for international travel will be available in digital form via travellers’ phones, or in printed form.
Further, the government is reportedly working to enable a person’s vaccination status to be linked to their passport chips, while a plan to introduce a vaccine certificate for travel via QR code is also underway.
The Prime Minister has long promised that once the country reaches 80 per cent vaccination status, Australia’s borders would re-open.
Recently, PM Morrison has suggested that states that reach 80 per cent vaccination ahead of others will be reopened for international travel. Details of how such a policy would work are yet to be revealed.
Currently, 39 per cent of Australia’s adult population is fully vaccinated.
A spokesman for cabinet minister Stuart Robert said more details about Australia’s plan for re-opening international travel would be released shortly.
“The Morrison government continues to work towards vaccine assurance standards that will be one element of enabling vaccinated Australians to move and travel more freely,” he said.
Prime Minister Morrison again said that home quarantine policies are key to a global reopening.
“Home quarantine needs to be at scale and needs to be tested and ready, and that’s what’s happening now, and that’s what I’ll continue to push to open the country up because that’s what enables the national plan,” he said on Tuesday.
“I’ll be following up last Friday’s [national cabinet] meeting with the premiers, writing them looking to get some timetables about their introduction of home quarantine, but also following up this issue of the integration of our technology that can enable fully vaccinated theatres, fully vaccinated events.”
It comes after Qantas revealed it was gearing up to reintroduce part of its international network by December 2021, off the back of Australia’s current fast-paced vaccine rollout.
According to projections completed by the airline, Australia is set to reach 80 per cent vaccination in its adult population by December, allowing both state and international border restrictions to ease.
However, Qantas did note that the international re-opening is likely to be “gradual”, with a focus on low-risk countries first, including those with high vaccination uptake including the UK, US, and parts of Asia.
From mid-December, Qantas and Jetstar will reinstate international schedules between Australia and low-risk countries, including Singapore, the US, Japan, the UK, Canada and Fiji.
It follows news earlier this month that the Australian government has extended its ban on international travel for Australian citizens and residents to 17 December.
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