The Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison has declared "the time has come to give Australians their lives back", with the international border to reopen next month in jurisdictions that have reached 80 per cent full-vaccination.
In a virtual media briefing to the Indian media in Australia, he confirmed Australia's plans for fully vaccinated Indian-Australians to be able to travel to India, starting December 2021.
Alex Hawke, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, also at the briefing
The meeting was conducted virtually, as Prime Minister Morrison is in quarantine after travelling to the United States, where amongst others he met with the Indian PM Narendra Modi.
Regarding bilateral discussions with the Indian Prime Minister, who he referred to several times by his first name, all he said was, “We agreed a number of initiatives and took forward to other matters that we’ve been working on for some time.”
Ending on a characteristic lighter note, Mr Morrison again spoke about his close friendship with Mr Modi, and about welcoming him to Australia at some time. The dinner menu for Narendra is somewhat sorted, the PM revealed: Scomosas of course for entrée, followed by a Kirribilli Dahl.
The border abruptly slammed shut in March 2020, with Australians requiring an exemption to leave the country and those seeking to return subject to stringent caps ever since.
But under a plan unveiled by the Prime Minister on Friday, fully-vaccinated Australians, permanent residents, and their family members will undergo seven-day home quarantine from November, in states and territories able to implement the system.
Fully-vaccinated Australians will face no travel restrictions leaving Australia, though other countries may implement their own restrictions to entry.
Mr Morrison heralded the development as an "important next step" in Australia emerging from COVID-19.
"It is a great and terrible thing that [liberties] have had to be taken away because of the pandemic. We've all understood it. We've all worked through it. We've all suffered through it," he said.
"But the time has come to give Australians their lives back. We're getting ready for that and Australia will be ready for take off very soon."
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