Australia may pause international travel if there’s a Covid outbreak

A surge in Covid cases or the arrival of a new variant could see overseas travel come to a sudden halt.

By David Flynn, October 4 2021
Australia may pause international travel if there’s a Covid outbreak

Although Australia is ready to resume international travel from November, travel to and from certain countries will be suspended in the event of a significant Covid-19 outbreak or the appearance of a new coronavirus variant.

The news adds another wrinkle to the era of post-pandemic travel and could give many Australians reason to hit pause on their short-term travel plans.

Speaking with ABC Radio Brisbane this morning, Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt admitted that a sudden surge in Covid cases or the rise of another variant overseas could result in a pause of travel then between that country and Australia.

"There is the capacity to do that," Hunt said.

"The example was India, when we were seeing 14% positive rates on the flights that were going into Howard Springs" – which resulted in the Government halting repatriation flights from India for two weeks in May 2021.

"It was controversial at the time. But after that, we were able to sure up the testing procedures that were occurring in another country with additional Australian measures, put in place those procedures, and it dropped from a positive rate of 14% to under 1%."

"So that was protecting the Howard Springs and the Northern Territory, and by definition, the rest of Australia," Hunt continued.

"Were there to be a virulent outbreak, where its impact on vaccinations was not known initially, that's the sort of thing that you would look for."

"There may be that there are individual cases of a mass outbreak, where we’re very concerned about a country, but the presumption is that you leave, you travel to your point of destination, and your protection is you come back double vaccinated and then into home quarantine for seven days with appropriate testing."

Hunt also reiterated that November's restart of inbound international travel and the removal of caps on arriving passengers would be restricted to "Australians or permanent residents overseas to return if they haven't come back yet."

"It's not initially about opening up travel for other people from overseas. It starts with Australians who are fully vaccinated doing that, and so we're not placing restrictions."


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

11 Sep 2018

Total posts 17

Wait, am i correct in that they're planning to restart international travel while their own state is in a midst of an outbreak but will close if there's a covid outbreak? Do these guys read their own announcements? Makes sense why coalition politicians are falling like flies.

Their hospitals are already at capacity, what's opening up further going to do? Prepare for the finger pointing when it hits the fan.

Wait for 90% vaccinations and go from there.

29 Sep 2021

Total posts 13

plenty of people are going overseas now. They simply make up a reason why they have to go for business or they come & go on private charter flights of no more than 80 seats (an F70 for example, of which Alliance has quite a few & can make NZ, Pacific Islands nonstop or with a splash & dash en route.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 468

1. National Cabinet agreed to the 80% figure (and seeing you seem to want to bring party politics into it, the majority of National Cabinet are Labor Premiers).

2. 90% may be an unachievable figure, as about 13% of people say they will not get the vaccine (according to multiple polls).

29 Jan 2020

Total posts 33

The majority comes from chief ministers, of the 2 lowest populated “territories” in Australia.

There are too many variables to risk overseas travel, what is the scenario if you go to say London or Los Angeles, your are double vaxxed, but you catch Covid…not requiring hospital treatment…but you are positive….can you still return home as planned?

07 May 2020

Total posts 151

boeing727...If you are vaccinated, catch covid unknowingly and have no symptoms, why would you go and get tested? I am in Europe right now travelling around and you only have to show a certificate to get into places that need to know your medication status. No need to show a test result, even if you have caught covid. Very simple.

GoRobin it’s policy to get tested before getting on the flight to come back home 

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