International commercial flights from North America and Singapore will be the first to carry passengers to Australia after the country lifts its international travel ban in November.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews confirmed that a Qantas flight from North America and a Singapore Airlines voyage would land in Sydney and that people would be able to greet their families and friends coming back from overseas at the airport.
“It will be fantastic to see those aircraft touch down here in Australia,” Andrews told Network Ten on Friday.
From Nov.1, fully vaccinated travellers can enter Sydney and Melbourne without hotel quarantine, while those unvaccinated will still need to isolate for two weeks in the hotel.
The border opening up was announced this week after the nation has hit the 70 percent double dose vaccination threshold, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirming that a quarantine-free travel bubble with Singapore would resume on Nov. 8.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg defended the decision to scrap quarantine for fully vaccinated arrivals, saying that the decision is based on official advice.
“For those who were double-dose vaccinated, then you should be allowed to go about your life in Australia and obviously catch up with family and friends,” he told the Seven Network.
The treasurer also alerted that reopening the international border could lead to an increase in cases, which would result in deaths and hospitalisations.
“We can’t defeat the virus. We have to learn to live with it,” Frydenberg said. “That means following the health restrictions that remain in place, but getting on with our lives and enjoying our freedoms.”
As of Oct. 28, 75.5 percent of people over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated in Australia, with 87.6 percent having had their first dose.
Victoria recorded 1656 new infections and 10 deaths, with the state hitting the 80 percent double dose rate soon. New South Wales (NSW) recorded 268 new cases and two deaths.
As Australia picks up with its vaccination rate, the government is launching a population-wide booster shots program. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the nation’s medicine and therapeutics regulator, has also approved the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot for people over the age of 18.
“We want to encourage every Australian that is eligible to continue to come forward and complete their primary course and when they are due six months plus to come forward for their boosters,” Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said.