When coronavirus began spreading around the world, Australia shut down. Not only could tourists no longer visit the land down under, but many Australians who were overseas also couldn’t even go home.
The country’s shutdown, although harsh, seems to have worked. Despite a population of 25.36 million (in 2019), they’ve had less than 35,000 cases since the pandemic began. To put that into perspective, Florida’s population is 21 million and has seen 2.59 million cases of COVID.
Anyway, Australia has been generally shut down since March, 2020, and travel has been limited to just a few hundred people allowed to arrive per day. There was a short-lived travel bubble with New Zealand, which the President of New Zealand shut down in July of this year, when Australia’s COVID cases began increasing.
However tourism is an important part of Australia’s economy, with roughly 9.4 million tourists visiting in 2019 alone. And that doesn’t even include Australians traveling throughout the country, which is also frequently not allowed at this time.
But how do you decide when to end lockdowns and reopen? Prime Minister Scott Morrison has a plan.
As per global news agency AFP, Morrison’s plan is:
- When 70% of eligible adults have been fully vaccinated, vaccinated residents will be able to travel domestically and a limited number of international students and economic visa holders will also be allowed to enter the country.
- When 80% of eligible adults have gotten the full dose of their COVID vaccines, Australians will be allowed to travel to safe countries overseas, and visitors from safe countries who have received one of the vaccines approved by Australian regulators will again be allowed to visit.
Right now, only about 14% of Australia’s population has been fully vaccinated, and just shy 1/3 of Australians have gotten 1 dose.
Morrison avoided setting a specific time frame for when travel could begin again. Instead, he suggested it would depend on when Australians choose to get vaccinated.
“The timelines are now in the hands of all Australians,” Morrison said. “Every single vaccine will take us closer to achieving each of these steps. As Australians, we have to take each step together. And that starts with walking in the door of that vaccine clinic.”
Morrison believes the country can reach his goals, “by the end of the year.”
Feature Photo: Max Pixel
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary