Australia will soon open to two additional countries as the national vaccination rate prepares to reach 90%.
According to new travel-bubble arrangements that will be finalised in the coming weeks, Australians will be able to travel to Japan and South Korea within the next few weeks.
This week, fully vaccinated Australians may travel to Singapore without being quarantined if they test negative to Covid-19 within 48 hours of departure and again upon arrival.
Fully vaccinated Singaporeans will be allowed to travel to Sydney and Melbourne without being quarantined from November 21 if they undergo a Covid-19 test upon arrival.
Other states are not allowing overseas travellers’ visits, except for returning Australians, who must quarantine for two weeks at a state-managed facility.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that bubbles would soon meet in two distinct Asian countries.
“Singapore opens on November 21, and I believe we’ll proceed pretty swiftly beyond that into Korea and Japan, and I hope we’re opening up even more by the end of the year,” he told the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday.
“Australians have gone through a great deal. They don’t want to see it shaky now in terms of how we’re handling the safe reopening process.”
During the Prime Minister’s speech on Wednesday, the Prime Minister praised the removal of quarantine in Victoria and New South Wales.
“I praise both NSW and Victoria for abolishing quarantine for people arriving from abroad; vaccination was a critical element of the solution, and that has been met,” he added.
While visitors from outside Singapore, Korea, and Japan are unlikely to be permitted into Australia until next year, Mr Morrison said that overseas students and skilled workers will be let back in “as soon as possible.”
“I believe students will return before the end of the year, especially in Victoria,” he said.
As of Thursday, more than 81% of Australians over the age of 16 were fully vaccinated, and the 90% first dose rate is expected to be achieved during the weekend.
Until last month, Australians who wanted to go abroad for professional or humanitarian reasons had to apply to leave the country.