Case numbers may be climbing Victoria, however international state travel is set to resume for fully vaccinated passengers.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to announce an end to the border ban, in place since March 2020, earlier than expected.
Initially set to end on 17 December, an announcement will be made today.
Fully-vaccinated NSW residents are likely to be the first to take advantage of the lifting of international borders and head off overseas before returning to a seven-day home quarantine option.
The state of Victoria, on track to reach its 80 per cent fully vaccinated target over the coming weeks, is also in talks to reopen international targets despite having recorded 1,143 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday.
Vaccinated passengers entering Australia once the border reopens will only be able to register their vaccine if it is recognised by the federal government. At the moment, only four vaccines qualify.
“If you receive a Covid-19 Pfizer Comirnaty, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria, Moderna Spikevax or Janssen-Cilag (also known as Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine while overseas, you can register your vaccination on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) when you return to Australia,” the department’s official advice states.
Sinovac, Sinopharm or Sputnik V cannot be registered on the Australian Immunisation Register.
Grecian Tours Managing Director Kon Kavalakis told Neos Kosmos that the opening of borders will mean a return to some sort of normality, bearing in mind his agency deals only with international flights. “We have had only minimal international travel over the last 18 months for compassionate cases or people travelling to Greece for good,” he said, pointing to Qantas having scheduled travel from 17-18 December. “It has been grim, and obviously to have a pathway towards travel is something we are looking forward to.”
Christos Niaros of Helloworld in Oakleigh is also hopeful that protocols will be put in place for travel to resume. Mr Niaros told Neos Kosmos “vaccine passports” – something the federal government and Australian airlines are working towards – will need to be created before the dream becomes a reality and there are many complexities which need to be ironed out and protocols aligned for seamless, carefree travel.