Australia Opening Borders, Freeing Citizens

As of next month, Australia will allow citizens to travel again! They won't be able travel between states but they will be able travel internationally.
Australia lifts travel ban

Australia's zero tolerance policy towards coronavirus saw it close its borders around the time of the pandemic. This prevented foreigners from entering Australia and also stopped Australians from leaving Australia, with some exceptions. Anyone who has entered Australia must be quarantined in a facility for 14-days.

This is going to change. Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister, has announced that Australia will open its international borders starting in November. This coincides with 80% vaccination rates being achieved. It doesn't mean that foreigners won't be allowed into Australia. Rather, it means that Australians who have been vaccinated will be allowed out of the country and back in.

Morrison sees this as a victory and says it is time to give Australians back their lives.

The hope is that the 14-day quarantine in an Australian facility can be replaced with a seven-day home quarantine upon your return. The logistics of this are still being worked out.

The problem is that each state can still set their own rules and politicians have different opinions about the best approach. Recently, the premier of Queensland was baffled by the idea that anyone would leave Australia. This begs the question: Where would people want to go?

However, this does not mean that Australia will be open to tourism.

Australia will soon allow citizens the right to leave, but we don't know when foreigners can visit. Australia is one of few countries that prohibits citizens from leaving the country, even though it has quarantined them on their return. That's all that is being lifted at the moment.

The Australian government has been inconsistent about its plans for opening to tourists. It is anyone's guess when this will happen. Given the impact that the restrictions are having on Australia's tourism sector and the fact that Australia is unlikely to recover from it, I believe it will happen sooner than expected.

My thoughts on Australia's border reopening

The Australian government's approach to the pandemic was one that I respected from the very beginning. It did all it could to protect its citizens and keep coronavirus away, which worked well in the short-term. The government didn't realize that coronavirus doesn't go away and must be dealt with.

This is exactly how I expected it to be. Australia was not going to be able manage the spread coronavirus forever. At this point, Australia is experiencing its worst pandemic since the outbreak. The number of cases is at an all time high, but it's not impossible to control.

It's not surprising that after the zero coronavirus strategy failed, which was inevitable, the government is now ready to give Australians their lives back. This conveniently happens before an election.

This isn't really doing much to help people get their lives back. I believe that vaccinated persons are allowed to return to the country with a mandatory quarantine (though it may be shorter and more frequent). We don't know when the borders will reopen.

At some level, Australia is a collection or states with their own policies. While Australians may soon be able travel internationally, they won't be allowed to travel between states. This is not the end of the story.

Let me be clear: I believe many countries, and in particular the United States, have messed with their coronavirus responses. But I think the Australian government was exceptional in its arrogance in thinking it could defeat the virus forever. This is something that Australian politicians are continuing to double down on.

Bottom line

Australia will reopen its borders in November 2021 as soon as it reaches 80% vaccination rates. This does not mean that tourists will be allowed into Australia. It means that Australians will be permitted to leave Australia. However, a mandatory quarantine will still be required upon return.

I am curious about the timeline for visitors to Australia as it deals with its worst coronavirus epidemic (by far)

What do you think of the latest update to Australia's border policies?