Australia plans to open its international border by Christmas

Australia's borders have been mostly shut to non-citizens and non-residents since March 2020.
Australia's borders have been mostly shut to non-citizens and non-residents since March 2020.PHOTO: AFP

CANBERRA (BLOOMBERG) - Australia plans to open its international border by Christmas at the latest, unwinding one of the world's strictest controls on overseas travel since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Australians will be able to travel abroad, with no restrictions on the destination, once the vaccination rate in their respective home state hits 80 per cent, Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said at a National Press Club of Australia event on Wednesday (Sept 22).

Australia's borders have been mostly shut to non-citizens and non-residents since March last year.

"People will be able to freely travel outside Australia with no restrictions" under the national plan governing the country's emergence from Covid-19, Mr Tehan said. Australians would still be subject to rules governing the countries they visit.

The government is exploring opening travel bubbles with several countries to reduce quarantine time, and hopes home quarantine will be operational before Christmas, Mr Tehan said.