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Australia Why can some Australians fly overseas but not drive to Queensland?

23:27  28 october  2021
23:27  28 october  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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a close up of a sign: International students will undergo quarantine at the facility being built at Wellcamp outside Toowoomba. (David Chen) © Provided by ABC Health International students will undergo quarantine at the facility being built at Wellcamp outside Toowoomba. (David Chen)

In just a few days, many Australians living in New South Wales or Victoria will be able to fly to London or Los Angeles — but not drive across the Queensland border.

Fully vaccinated travellers will be able to leave the country and will be able to travel to the UK, the USA, Canada, Italy, Greece, Germany and South Africa without needing to quarantine.

It'll be the first time since March last year that people have been able to leave the country without seeking an exemption from the federal government.

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Quarantine requirements on return to Australia are up to the states.

Under Queensland's COVID-19 vaccination plan, 14 days' quarantine is still required for international arrivals — whether in a government facility or at home — until 90 per cent of the population over 16 is fully vaccinated.

From that time, there will be no restrictions on entry to Queensland and no quarantine required for fully vaccinated travellers.

Travellers who are not fully vaccinated will need to meet "relevant requirements for entry" and be required to undertake a period of quarantine.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) chief executive officer Daniel Gschwind said the opening of interstate borders was a more pressing matter.

"We now have a deadline and a timeline for that and we're very pleased about that, but as a state we need to be part of a national conversation as well — about how and at what pace the international borders will open — we're one country after all," he said.

Queensland universities welcome return of international students under COVID-19 quarantine plan

  Queensland universities welcome return of international students under COVID-19 quarantine plan The state government is urged to ensure Queensland universities don't lose students to other states, as the sector prepares for the return of international students from early next year.Queensland University of Technology (QUT) vice-chancellor Margaret Sheil said the impact of this decision would flow on to the many industries that depended on the sector.

"We can accept that Queensland may open international borders a little later that NSW and Victoria because our vaccination rates have to catch up.

"But I think we should commit to the same threshold as the other states — that is 80 per cent vaccination rates — and then we can move towards quarantine-free arrival for international guests if they're doubly vaccinated and if they're tested."

Does that mean international tourists will be back in a couple of months?

The tourism industry certainly hopes so.

As Australians start travelling overseas again, it will be looking for an influx of overseas travellers to "balance the books," Mr Gschwind said.

"As an industry we're confident we can attract international visitors, but we have to make sure the regulatory constraints and border restrictions allow us to do that," he said.

The federal government expects fully vaccinated foreign travellers will be allowed to enter Australia by the end of the year under a staged reopening of the border.

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Why will international students need to quarantine?

The Queensland government has announced that international students will be allowed to return from early January.

They will undergo quarantine at the Wellcamp facility being built outside Toowoomba.

The state government said quarantine for those students would continue to be necessary because students would not be coming into situations where they would be able to home quarantine, and there could be potential future variants that would pose a problem.

Changes to those arrangements might be contemplated once the state has hit the 90 per cent double-dose vaccination mark.

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