A couple weeks back, the government set up a taskforce to look into the impact vaccination would have on our travel restrictions, namely the quarantine period and place of returning Aussies, Federal health minister Greg Hunt told the Coalition party room on Tuesday.
Modelling began this week and a pilot program that would see vaccinated Australians able to return from essential travel with less strict quarantine rules could start just six to eight weeks from now, Hunt said.
People vaccinated in Australia or in countries where the status of their vaccination can be reliably verified (the UK, US, Canada and Singapore, for example), are those most likely to face reduced times in hotel quarantine, Guardian Australia reported.
According to Guardian Australia, the government is considering grading countries based on the risk of bringing COVID-19 to Australia and will apply different quarantine rules accordingly.
Fully vaccinated travellers coming from “green zone” countries could get away with taking a rapid antigen test, then a full COVID test, and leave quarantine after negative results.
“The [health] minister had previously stated on a number of occasions that vaccination may bring forward the capacity of vaccinated people to travel,” a spokesman for Hunt told Guardian Australia.
“Today’s advice [to the party room] was consistent with that.”
Upon conducting a national review of the quarantine system earlier this year, former Department of Health head Jane Halton told Guardian Australia hotel quarantine would be needed “until we have a significant proportion of our population vaccinated”.
Once our vulnerable had been vaccinated in Australia “the conversation will change [and] there will come a point we ask ourselves: do we continue to close ourselves off to rest of world?” she said.
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