The pivoting point of freedom of travel for Australians in this COVID-19 Pandemic

4 replies

XWu

Member since 09 May 2020

Total posts 118

Not sure this thread will survive the censorship rule as readers may keep commenting about vaccines and other public health measure but here goes:

Just been looking back at my comments over the last 6 months and the threads involved. As late as Aug and Sept this year, new airline routes and travel bubble are just talk and services to and from Australian ports are being rationalised (ie withdrawn or suspended)

IMO GlaBer had been a great premier running the pandemic response (I will avoid commenting on other political aspects of her career) but even at the the time of her sudden resignation on 1 October no one clearly drew a line whereby what and when things will change despite the known projected vaccination rate. Perhaps she didn’t have that information on hand at that time.

Within 2 weeks DomPer made a shocking announcement that Sydney lockdown for the vaccinated will end, then there will be no quarantine requirements for all incoming travellers fully vaccinated with TGA recognised vaccine from 1 nov and now everyone in the country and overseas are making new plans on the go. VIC was made (peer pressure) to open up and frankly other states can see that their status quo and “wait and see” approach may be a relic.

ScoMo may have been consulting with DomPer prior to the 14 oct announcement but clearly he was on a back foot on that day.

I doubt anyone here would have predicted the new premier would have made such a difference in such a short time.

So my real question is: what will be the next being change that will significantly affect travel within (and to/from) Australia?

Travellz

Member since 26 Mar 2020

Total posts 30

I think for NSW and VIC those significant changes have already occurred and that there will be NO Quarantine on arrival - I guess the next major change will be when all states have unrestricted travel with no quarantine.

The final major change will may be quite some time down the track will be the removal of pre-departure testing which I think would not be that far off to be honest (perhaps in another 12 months or so) however mask mandates on-board and at airports and restrictive travel for non vaccinated travellers (this maybe years away - like 5 years away).

It's all dependent on if we have new more lethal variants if we don't then you can be safe to assume that naturally all the pre departure testing requirements will ease over time

GoRobin Banned

GoRobin Banned

Member since 07 May 2020

Total posts 89

9 days to go and we still need to see the repeal of the NSW Air Transportation Quarantine Health Order. Right now it still says "go directly to 14 days quarantine on arrival". So let's hope that Brad Hazzard puts pen to paper very soon.

TheFreqFlyer

Member since 05 Oct 2017

Total posts 74

Originally Posted by Travellz

I think for NSW and VIC those significant changes have already occurred and that there will be NO Quarantine on arrival - I guess the next major change will be when all states have unrestricted travel with no quarantine.

The final major change will may be quite some time down the track will be the removal of pre-departure testing which I think would not be that far off to be honest (perhaps in another 12 months or so) however mask mandates on-board and at airports and restrictive travel for non vaccinated travellers (this maybe years away - like 5 years away).

It's all dependent on if we have new more lethal variants if we don't then you can be safe to assume that naturally all the pre departure testing requirements will ease over time

5 years? LOL. No pandemic has lasted 7 years and thus there is no justification for keeping such restrictions in place that long.

In 5 years time we may very well be under the 50th iteration of lockdown with no travel permitted for anyone due to Marburg or whatever new virus is on the loose. That's the worst case scenario of course.

However, realistically, mask mandates on board planes will probably be lifted sometime next year; in my opinion no later than roughly the middle of the year. It's possible, though not necessarily likely, that some airlines will introduce a segregated system whereby the unvaccinated have to remain masked and sit in one section of the plane, while the vaccinated won't be required to be masked, but will be placed in another section of the aircraft.

Unrestricted travel for the unvaccinated will probably return soon enough too - especially once the pandemic dies down, the WHO declares it as over, and/or a certain majority % of vaccinated individuals in the global population is reached, which I think, barring parts of Africa, will be achieved sometime in 2022.

Initial predictions about some of the poorer developing countries like Cambodia and Laos taking up to 5 years to vaccinate 70-80% of their populations have proven completely inaccurate. Cambodia is one of the most vaccinated countries on Earth, with 80% of the total population of all age groups fully vaccinated, including virtually 100% of the population of the capital Phnom Penh, barring young children. They've already vaccinated most children aged 6-11. Thus Cambodia is ahead even of Australia. Laos is a bit slower but has basically reached 50% of the population who have received at least one shot; close to 40% have been given both doses. Both countries are ahead of their richer neighbours, Thailand and Vietnam.

Therefore, similar to what we've seen with yellow fever vaccine requirements that are specific to certain regions of the world, I think what we'll probably see over the course of 2022 and beyond is an easing of restrictions based on the region you're in or heading to, something like this:

Within Europe and even within Asia eventually, restrictions on testing and/or vaccination will likely be eased for land based travel first, and then for air travel later. However, it could be that due to low vaccination rates, citizens and arrivals from African nations will be required to be tested and/or vaccinated for years to come, even if the rule is lifted for intra Asian, European, North American and Oceania travel, and for travel between these regions.

Another realistic scenario and one which is already playing itself out in some regions is that as the threat dies down, there will be a dual system - either getting vaccinated (or showing proof of recovery) OR tested to enter a country quarantine free, not both. I think as we head into 2022, we'll first see post-arrival testing scrapped (which NSW and Victoria have already decided to do starting November 1), followed by pre-departure testing for the vaccinated. This will leave testing only for the unvaccinated. Then, on a country by country basis, both will be scrapped. For example, for Australia-New Zealand travel I think both testing and vaccination requirements are likely to be scrapped within 12 months, allowing for similar rules such as during the earlier travel bubble to return. This will be expanded to more countries and then regions as mentioned above, leaving only the regions with low vaccination rates.


Last editedby TheFreqFlyer at Oct 22, 2021, 11:04 PM.

XWu

Member since 09 May 2020

Total posts 118

There wasn't much solid changes in international flights availability despite the commonwealth announcement on Oct 1 of nov relaxation of in/outbound Aussie residents movement, simply some motherhood kind of statements by some airlines that they would put on more flights in nov/dec. in fact QF is still busy cutting domestic flights to rationalise some underbooked routes involving closed states (my early morning flight in 2 months was moved to midday….. the first flight of the day!)

Only when DomPer made that no quarantine announcement then airlines made serious attempts at advising everyone what flights is out there.

Only then we have DanAnd announcing that VIC is opening up and then a few days later matched that no quarantine commitments. Some people may claim this may already been planned but IMO it's more of FOMO.

This possibly also pushed Qld to make their opening up announcement early even though they had been saying they will consider their options after the National Cabinet meeting in early Nov.

That's why to me NSW's no quarantine announcement is the moment in this pandemic when people are seriously planning to deal with open borders.

Last edited by XWu at Oct 23, 09.36 AM.
Last editedby XWu at Oct 23, 2021, 09:37 AM.

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