Government proposes international travel trial

The federal government has announced a trial to allow vaccinated Australians to travel overseas.

The program would allow vaccinated travellers to leave and return under relaxed quarantine requirements, and it could begin in as little as six weeks.

Federal health minister Greg Hunt spoke of the proposal in response to a question in the Coalition party room about whether vaccination could see people exempted from outbound and inbound travel restrictions.

Read more: The only good news for overseas travel

Australia shut its borders in March 2020. Anyone who has come into the country since has undergone a mandatory two weeks of hotel quarantine. Outbound travel has also been banned, except for those travelling for critical business, on compassionate grounds or for other exempted reasons.

The bungled vaccine rollout has seen the federal government grasping at straws to get the population vaccinated by prescribed deadlines.

Read more: Australian voters divided over Morrison government’s COVID performance

The international travel trial may be seen as incentive for people to get vaccinated.

It may also be a boon for the 40,000 Australians still stranded overseas and the many expats stuck here away from family overseas.

Mr Hunt said the government had already set up a taskforce to examine how vaccination could interact with Australia’s travel rules and says the pilot program could begin in six to eight weeks’ time.

Exemptions would be extended to people vaccinated in Australia or in countries where vaccination status can be reliably verified – such as the UK, US, Canada and Singapore, says a Guardian Australia report.

Australians can already travel to New Zealand and back without going into hotel quarantine.

New Zealand is the only country currently categorised as a ‘green zone’.

Read more: Ardern announces trans-Tasman travel bubble start date

The government may soon introduce other gradings based on the risk of bringing coronavirus back to Australia.

Different quarantine rules would apply for travel to and from different zones.

What do you think of this plan? Would you be comfortable and happy to travel overseas, then return with relaxed or minimal quarantine restrictions? Do you think, based on current events, that Australia’s quarantine measures are up to task? Why not share your thoughts in the comments areas below?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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