Australian borders could be opened, at least for Australian citizens and permanent residents, within weeks as NSW and Victoria are close to achieving 80 per cent vaccination.
With NSW and Victoria now edging closer to hitting 80 per cent double doses within days, Australia may lift the travel ban.
According to media reports, talks are under way between the Prime Minister and the premiers on opening up the borders sooner.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says his state would hit the target of 80 per cent of the community single dosed with Covid vaccine today.
“We’ll pass 80 per cent single dose. That’s an amazing achievement and all Victorians who have been vaccinated or booked an appointment should be very proud of that,’’ he said.
“We’ll get this done and we’ll get it done properly. I’m very positive and optimistic about the future because we can see past this now.”
NSW is already testing home quarantine as Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the hotel quarantine system was an idea that was “past its use by date”.
“If you’re fully vaccinated with a vaccine our authorities deem to be effective and safe, you’ll be able to quarantine at home. We’re going through the pilot as we speak. But the hotel quarantine system for returning Australians is past its use by date. If you’re fully vaccinated, you should be able to quarantine at home,’’ she told ABC Breakfast on Tuesday morning.
“I would welcome that,’’ she said. “I think every state needs to do their bit for the country. “Our contribution in New South Wales will be to welcome home Australians. If other state premiers aren’t inclined to do that. I’m more than happy to welcome home Australians. Australians have been separated from their loved ones for too long.”
“I would be more than happy to welcome home Australians, fully vaccinated Australians will be able to quarantine at home in New South Wales. And obviously every other state premier will have their decisions around what they’ll do. We make sure they get safely on a flight back to their home state. What happens after that is a matter for their state premier.”
The Doherty Institute released a plan to remove the caps on passengers arriving in Australia as soon as 80 per cent of Australians are vaccinated. It also includes lifting restrictions on outbound travel for the vaccinated.
“We never anticipated the speed with which that would occur and the demand that was there,’’ the NSW Premier said.
“So by the end of October, our citizens will be able to move freely throughout New South Wales and the one proviso we add to that, if there’s a localised surge in cases, the Doherty report advises, as will our health experts, you have some restrictions or targeted restrictions in a particular locality. Once you open up, we’ll see a surge in cases.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had confirmed earlier this week in Washington that an announcement was possible.
“We will see our international borders, particularly for Australians to leave and return and Australians who are overseas and have been vaccinated to return, and that will occur before the end of the year,’’ he said.
“It could happen well before that. I mean, right now we have reached a point where half of our adult population, aged over 16, has been double vaccinated. Three quarters of them have had their first vaccination. In our older population, those rates are already much higher, over ninety per cent. And, so, with the vaccines, that is improving our resilience, and we’ll be able to open up those borders.”
“But, I’ll tell you what shutting those borders did, it saved over 30,000 lives in Australia. We also took action to save livelihoods. And our economy has come back strongly, even with the restrictions we have in place now. As they lift, then we will see our economy come back strongly. There’s nothing wrong with our economy. The only thing that’s holding back is obviously restrictions that are helping save lives.”