October 1 (WNN) — Australia announced on Friday that it is reopening its borders to some international travel after a controversial 18-month ban.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a news conference on Friday that fully vaccinated Australians and permanent residents of Australia who are abroad will be able to travel again.
Australian officials said they would make the change now that 78% of residents have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 55% are fully vaccinated.
“And that is where Australia is now preparing to move forward,” Morrison said. “It will be next month. That’s when it starts to happen next month, as states move into those 80% vaccination rates.”
Australia has closed its borders to all non-citizens from March 20, 2020, with residents requiring special permission to visit. This limit was supposed to last only till Decembe, r., but it was increased when the types of coronavirus emerged.
Australia’s national air carrier, Qantas, said it would resume travel to London and Los Angeles on November 14.
Those who have not been vaccinated or are not recognized by Australian authorities will still have to spend two weeks in a managed quarantine facility.
Citizens and residents who cannot be vaccinated because they are under 12 years of age or have a medical condition will be vaccinated during travel.
The Australian government has approved six vaccines, including those made by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Two more were added on Friday – China’s Sinovac and India’s Kovishield.
Jennifer Westcott, chief executive of Australia’s Business Council, said the international border closure caused the country’s economy about $7.6 billion in monthly losses. She called on state and territory leaders to move forward with their domestic reopening plans.