By Vatican News staff reporter
Australia imposed one of the harshest restrictions in the world in a bid to limit the spread of COVID-19; but from November, its citizens will have the freedom to travel abroad.
The country’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, said on Friday that home quarantine would also be established in Australia’s eight states and territories.
Under the plan, citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to leave Australia, with further changes expected to permit foreign travellers to enter the country at a later stage.
The prime minister shut the international border in March 2020. Since then, only a limited number of people have been authorized to leave the country for critical business or humanitarian reasons.
Citizens and permanent residents have been allowed to return from abroad, subject to quota limits and a mandatory 14-day quarantine period in a hotel at their own cost.
The new arrangements mean that Australians who are fully vaccinated will be able to travel abroad and complete a 7-day quarantine at home on their return.
People who are not vaccinated will have to undertake 14 days of quarantine at a hotel when they reenter the country.
Mr. Morrison said his government was working towards quarantine free travel with countries such as New Zealand when “safe to do so.”
Australia’s tough border closure policy has been credited with keeping the country’s COVID-19 cases relatively low with just over 107,000 cases and around 1,300 deaths.
Officials on Friday reported 2,084 new cases, mostly in New South Wales and Victoria states.
Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra are currently in lockdown due to outbreaks of the virus.