Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Friday that the country's inbound travel ban will be lifted from November 1. The decision was made hours after one of its states, New South Wales, announced it would open itself to the world.
In making that announcement, Morrison slapped down NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet's statement that vaccinated tourists would be free to go into New South Wales from November 1, saying that Australian citizens, residents, and their families would be prioritised in any resumption of commercial flights.
"We will be allowing Australians, permanent residents, and citizens and their families, to leave Australia from wherever they live in Australia and return," Morrison said.
"The Commonwealth government has made no decision to allow other visa holders ... to come into Australia under these arrangements."
He added the date for Australia's international borders reopening was a federal government decision, rather than a state government one.
"It's for the Commonwealth government, the federal government, to decide when the border opens and shuts at an international level, and we will do that. In the first instance, it will be for Australians, Australian residents and their families. We'll see how that goes and then we'll move to the other priorities."
He said each state and territory would have their own cap arrangements regarding how many incoming overseas travellers are allowed even after the November 1 date.
For New South Wales, there will be no cap nor quarantine for incoming vaccinated travellers from November 1. In terms of incoming unvaccinated travellers, the state will only allow 210 of them per week. Incoming unvaccinated travellers will also be required to undergo a two-week hotel quarantine.
Following the federal and state government announcements, Qantas said it would bring forward the resumption of international travel by two weeks. Qantas will operate up to five return flights a week from Sydney to London and up to four return flights a week from Sydney to Los Angeles.
With Australia's vaccination rates continuing to rise and restrictions loosening, the Australian government said on Monday morning its international digital vaccination certificate will be available from tomorrow. The vaccination certificate, called the Visible Digital Seal (VDS), will be available to Australians and Australian visa holders who have a valid passport and their COVID-19 vaccination recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register.
The VDS will be available to be downloaded through the Medicare Express Plus app. It can also be printed and will be compatible with COVID-19 travel apps, such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass. The VDS will feature a QR code to prove COVID-19 vaccination status to border authorities.
Updated at 27 October 2021: clarified that the uplifting of the travel ban from this announcement was focused specifically on inbound travel.