As of August 1, only 15.3% of the population has been fully vaccinated according to Our World in Data. Australia can allow people to let in the borders only once more people are vaccinated, said the Australian trade minister Dan Tehan. The minister also said that the country is looking ahead to set-up travel bubbles with the nations which have COVID-19 infection rates under control like South Korea, Singapore, and Japan.
Since March 2020, Australia had closed its borders for international travellers and had prohibited its own citizens from returning back to Australia from India since May. “Easing border restrictions and letting foreign students in the country are yet very much part of the roadmap as the country comes out of the pandemic wave”, said Tehan. According to the minister, a trial of home quarantining will run in South Australia. This trial will be for 2 weeks in September and if everything goes well Australians will be allowed to leave and return. The minister also said that a remarkable vaccination rate needs to be achieved and once the vaccination rates increase, arrangements for quarantine will be looked after. He explained by saying that improvement in vaccination rates will help in lifting the curbs, allowing more Australians to return home, more international students to study on- campus, more ways to bring in the foreign workers, and then the businesspeople who wish to conduct business in Australia can be brought in.
The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison said that “the country needs to vaccinate its 80% of the population before it can open the borders for outside world and only then we can think of allowing more people in”.
Plans on Travel Bubble
Sydney, the biggest city of Australia has been witnessing a sharp increase in the daily number of COVID-19 infections, with cases reaching a new high due to the emergence and spread of the delta variant. The military was called to help in the enforcement of more restrictions in the city and the lockdown was extended for another month last week.
The trade minister still conveyed that Australia is keen to start travel bubbles with countries experiencing less resurgence of cases. He added by saying that “its still the plan. Without any doubts, we’re in the midst of a pandemic hence the plan can be changed and tweaked as and when required. We wish to open up and opening up with those countries based on medical advice only and when we know its safe to do so”.