The federal government has said it will “work towards” establishing a number of quarantine-free travel bubbles, similar to the agreement previously held with New Zealand.
It comes after the government revealed fully vaccinated Australians will be free to leave the country and return from November. Those arriving will then complete seven days of home quarantine, rather than being asked to stay in a hotel.
However, in a statement on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison also confirmed that the government’s next steps would include introducing additional travel bubble arrangements that won’t require any length of quarantine “when it is safe to do so”.
Previously, it had been suggested that a quarantine-free travel arrangement would be introduced with Singapore, plus that the existing trans-Tasman travel bubble – which is currently suspended – could be expanded to include the Pacific islands, including New Caledonia, Tahiti and the Cook Islands.
It comes after Tourism Minister Dan Tehan last week confirmed that the government is in discussion with other countries about setting up quarantine-free travel bubbles with low-risk countries, similar to the agreement that was in place earlier this year with New Zealand.
Last week, the New Zealand government announced that it would extend the suspension of travel between Australia and New Zealand for a further eight weeks, to 19 November.
Even so, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said it would be “extremely unlikely” that New Zealand would reopen its border to Australia in November, due to its ongoing Delta outbreak in Sydney and Melbourne.
Robertson said the country would keep its eyes on the vaccination rates across Australia and within the states over the next eight weeks.
Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that fully vaccinated citizens and residents will be able to leave the country freely and return without hotel quarantine in November.
These new requirements, which will kick in once states hit 80 per cent double-dose inoculation, will see those arriving back in the country being asked to quarantine at home for seven days.
The government will also announce a number of quarantine-free travel bubbles in the coming weeks, which will see the country able to welcome tourists for the first time in 18 months.
“It’s time to give Australians their lives back,” said Prime Minister Morrison. “Let’s get vaccinated and get on with it.”
Meanwhile, Qantas has officially announced it will bring forward its planned restart date for international flights to 14 November, following the federal government’s announcement that Australia’s international borders will open next month.
Qantas said that this date may be altered in the future, once the government confirms an exact date for the reopening of international borders.
As it stands, the Flying Kangaroo confirmed it will operate three weekly return flights between Sydney and London, as well as three weekly return flights between Sydney and Los Angeles, both on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners from 14 November.
Further, as the airline previously suggested, all passengers on Qantas international flights will be required to be fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved or recognised vaccine, as well as return a negative COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours prior to departure.