Qantas announced plans for the re-start of its international route network, beginning on December. That planned seemed crazy with the country facing an upswing in Covid-19 cases – more than they’ve seen at any point in the pandemic – and what once seemed like an idyllic refuge from the global pandemic now seems like a dystopian science fiction film.
Starting September 13, new freedoms will be permitted for fully vaccinated households in local government areas of concern in the Australian state of New South Wales:
households with all adults vaccinated will be able to gather outdoors for recreation (including picnics) within the existing rules (for one hour only, outside curfew hours and within 5km of home). This is in addition to the one hour allowed for exercise.
So it’s hard to imagine the other side of this, but the airline says it expects the country’s borders to begin opening in December. They’re certainly in good touch with government leaders.
- This is subject to continued progress on vaccinations in the country, hitting 80% vaccinations. However current speed of vaccinations could slow as higher thresholds are hit.
- And subject to changes in the course of the virus, which hasn’t been fully predictable during the pandemic.
Borders would open slowly, initially focused on “low risk” countries including “Singapore, the US, Japan, the UK, Canada and Fiji.” (The U.S. and U.K. are included based on vaccination rates, and of course levels of spread are likely to be very different in December than they are now, even if there’s a seasonal winter effect.)
While I keep booking award travel to Australia in hopes of visiting family whenever saver award space opens up – and I’ve had to cancel many bookings – I do not actually expect to be welcomed in mid-December. Notably though this is peak travel season, so there should be a push to open if possible in order to avoid greater losses. And more and more Australians are frustrated with the lockdowns they’re enduring, a sentiment only expected to grow as they continue.