Australia will ‘soon’ open to two new countries, as the national vaccination rate prepares to reach 90 per cent.
Australians will soon be able to travel to Japan and South Korea under new travel-bubble arrangements set to be formalised within coming weeks.
As of this week, fully vaccinated Australians are able to travel to Singapore without quarantining, provided they test negative to Covid-19 within 48 hours of departing and again after arriving.
From November 21, fully vaccinated Singaporeans will be able to fly to NSW, Victoria and the ACT without quarantining on the condition they test negative to Covid-19.
Other states are not yet accepting international arrivals except for returning Australians, who must quarantine for two weeks at a state-managed facility.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said bubbles would soon open up to two other Asian destinations.
“Singapore opens up on the 21st of November, and I think we’ll move fairly quickly beyond that into Korea and Japan, and before the end of the year I hope we’re opening up even more,” he told the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday.
“Australians have been through a lot. They don’t want to see it get the wobbles now in terms of how we’re managing the safely reopening process.”
The abolishment of quarantine in Victoria and NSW was praised during the Prime Minister’s address on Wednesday.
“I commend both NSW and Victoria in abolishing quarantine for those coming from overseas, vaccination was a key part of the answer and that has been answered,” he said.
While travellers from outside Singapore, Korea and Japan are unlikely to be allowed into Australia until next year, Mr Morrison indicated international students and skilled workers would be allowed back into Australia, without quarantining, “as soon as possible”.
“Students will be back, I think, before the end of the year, particularly in Victoria,” he said.
As of Thursday, more than 81 per cent of Australians aged over 16 are fully vaccinated, and the 90 per cent first dose rate is expected to be surpassed on the weekend.
Until last month, Australians who wanted to travel overseas for professional or compassionate reasons needed to apply for an exemption to leave the country.