Travel to Australia not possible until ‘late next year’

International borders expected to remain closed until Covid-19 vaccine is available

Helen Coffey
Wednesday 07 October 2020 14:28 BST
Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg reacts to Trump comments on coronavirus

Australia is unlikely to open its borders for international travel until the end of 2021, the country’s government has confirmed.

The rule applies both ways, meaning Australians will be largely unable to travel overseas, while tourists will be unable to enter Australia.

Josh Frydenberg, the Treasurer, confirmed the decision to wait until a vaccine is available after handing down the Federal Budget, reports

He said: “International travel, including by tourists and international students, is assumed to remain largely closed off until late next year and then gradually return over time, and a vaccine to be available around the end of 2021 is one of the assumptions in the budget.

“We have taken every step possible to give Australia the best possible chance of getting a vaccine.”

He added: “We know that the road out of this crisis will be unpredictable. We also know that this Budget outlines possible alternative upside and downside scenarios. We are taking nothing for granted.”

The country’s domestic borders are expected to open earlier to allow travel within Australia.

In most cases, restrictions are expected to lift by December this year; however, Western Australia will not reopen its border until April 2021.

Australia has managed to keep coronavirus rates relatively low, with 27,182 confirmed cases to date and just 897 deaths.

In comparison, the UK has had more than half a million cases and over 42,000 deaths to date.

It comes after the news that Australian flag carrier Qantas sold out a scenic “flight to nowhere” in under 10 minutes.

Travel-starved Australians were keen to book onto the seven-hour sightseeing tour, which takes off from and lands at Sydney without touching down anywhere en route, paying between $575 (£445) and $2,765 (£2,145) for tickets.

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