We are undeniably itching to travel internationally again and book our first celebratory round the world trip. We’ve had months to gaze and plan with little direction or foresight, but it’s finally coming. In recent weeks, Australia surpassed 70% of the population receiving at least one dose of the vaccine, and the New South Wales government announced a home quarantine trial. These exciting advancements are edging us away from the expensive (and extensive) hotel quarantine. What is home quarantine, and what does it mean for the return of international travel? Read our thoughts below.
NSW’s home quarantine trial will initially launch with around 175 people, namely, Qantas aircrew and staff members. These trial participants must have received two doses of a TGA-approved vaccine to comply. The program will also analyse differences between dwelling types, family situations and ages, to better grasp the impacts of a home quarantine period. While the current hotel quarantine restricts entrants to fourteen days, the home quarantine period is set to seven days.
South Australia has already conducted a similar trial, using facial recognition and location-based services to check in on participants.
Internationally, Taiwan and Singapore have successfully implemented these strategies, noting high compliance rates and requiring negative testing for release on day seven.
The undercurrent across the industry is hopeful that a widespread introduction of home quarantine will kickstart international travel once again. This rollout is expected to occur once NSW reaches 70% fully vaccinated, predicted around mid-October.
Undoubtedly, the current quarantine restrictions are a major preventative for the tourism industry. If the country were to reopen with these rules in place, many people would be excluded from travel due to the cost or inconvenience. The goal is to ensure travellers can leave and return without requiring a 14-day hotel quarantine stay. The tourism minister, Dan Tehan, hopes that all states and territories will have a home quarantine strategy in place by Christmas.
Alan Joyce, Qantas Chief Executive, noted that the trial is an important “stepping stone” in this process, hoping that requirements will continue to relax following this. At the moment, Qantas is scheduled to restart international qantas rtw flights from December 18.
The government has also announced that they plan for many Australians who are currently overseas to freely return before Christmas, reuniting families after extensive time apart. Home quarantine is a logical and welcome step in promoting these joyful reunions.
As NSW Minister for jobs and tourism, Stuart Ayres, told The Guardian, “We’ve got to be able to learn what happens when we put people into home-based quarantine. Australia must reopen. We must get rid of lockdowns, we must re-engage with the world.”
Business travel, round the world holidays, and the opportunity to visit family and friends once again is gradually approaching. We are counting down the days. Contact us for further information or assistance in planning your debut international trip as Australia reopens.