To “vaccine or quarantine” when arriving in Australia?

Shutterstock / Vidit Luthra

Once Australia opens up its borders, international travelers might have to choose between presenting a vaccination proof or paying for a 14 day-quarantine.

On February 7, 2021, Australian Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert, announced that a digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate might be mandatory for all arriving travelers. According to Roberts, in order to safely open up Australia’s borders, the use of vaccination certificates would have to be assured.

“It’s highly likely that a vaccination certificate or quarantine will still be required for international visitors to Australia,” said Roberts. “And we’ll continue to work with our international counterparts on exactly how we have a framework for vaccination certificates. There’s a range of applications now that are being looked at including IBM, Clear, CommonPass, through the international travel authorities.”

However, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said that the final decision regarding  COVID-19 vaccination proof from arriving travelers would be made following the recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). 

On February 7, 2021, Australian government also said that the vaccinated Australian citizens would receive their digital proof that would be stored and displayed on the Express Plus Medicare and MyGov apps. If approved, this could be the key to Australians being able to travel abroad again.

In November 2020, Qantas Airways announced plans to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for international air travelers once the vaccine was widely available. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the airline was looking at changing its terms and conditions to require vaccination proof from the international travelers. “For international travellers, we will ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft,” said Joyce.

Australia’s flag carrier, Qantas, is aiming to restart international flight services from July 2021. Currently, the airline is serving limited international flights, mainly to repatriate Australian citizens stuck overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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