Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the states of South Australia and New South Wales (NSW) will likely be the first states to trial home quarantine for fully vaccinated returned travellers.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will discuss the idea with premiers and chief ministers at a national cabinet meeting on Friday.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the proposal would look at alternative options including home quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers.
“One of the things the work done so far tells us is that a vaccinated person quarantining for seven days is stronger than an unvaccinated person quarantining for 14 days,” she told ABC radio.
NSW and SA have expressed interest in participating in a small-scale trial.
“We will start that in the coming period when the medical advice enables us to do so and the processes are put in place,” Payne said.
The ACT has allowed diplomats, government officials and the prime minister to quarantine at residences during the pandemic.
But the territory government is reluctant to immediately expand the program to the general population.
National cabinet will also revisit international passenger caps, which will be halved in five days.
The foreign minister said the reduction would be in place until Aug. 31 despite Morrison stating it would be in place until at least the start of next year.
Payne said work was underway to increase the amount of government-facilitated flights as demand soars from Australians stranded abroad.
“I’m very aware, particularly given the extraordinary amount of work my department has been doing with Australians endeavouring to return, this does create an additional layer of difficulty,” she said.
Australia has offered companies the chance to make their case for the contract to provide vaccination passports for international travel.
Payne said it was a work in progress with international regulators and airline groups looking at similar options.
“Australia wants to make sure we’re fully engaged in that process,” she said.
By Matt Coughlan