Australia mulls making vaccination or quarantine a must for visitors

This article is more than 12 months old

SYDNEY: Australia will likely require international arrivals to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or face a prolonged quarantine, as officials sketch out what "new normal" restrictions may look like.

Although "no final decision" had been made on how to proceed when a vaccine becomes available, Australia's Health Minister Greg Hunt suggested yesterday that a vaccination or a strict two-week quarantine would be a condition for entry.

The comments came as Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said international travellers would need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to fly with the Australian flag carrier.

Mr Hunt said: "We would expect that people coming to Australia while Covid-19 is a significant disease in the world will either be vaccinated or they will isolate."

For eight months, Australia had virtually closed off from the rest of the world, with a blanket ban on non-residents entering the country and citizens strongly advised against all foreign travel.

But with promising results in vaccine trials, Mr Hunt suggested that Australians may start receiving doses as early as March.

The International Air Transport Association announced on Monday that it was in the "final stages" of developing a digital health pass that it says can be used to record Covid-19 tests or vaccinations and will "support the safe reopening of borders".

"We are bringing this to market in the coming months to also meet the needs of the various travel bubbles and public health corridors that are starting operation," it added. - AFP