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'Not any time soon': Expert reveals when international travel will likely start in Australia

Infectious diseases physician Peter Collignon says he expects unrestricted overseas travel is still a long way off for Australians.

"I think international travel is going to be a fair way down the distance," he told Yahoo News Australia during a Facebook Live Q&A.

Professor Collignon, who is from the The Australian National University Medical School, said he believes we may see limited international travel by October this year, but it’s unlikely there will be unrestricted international travel until about October 2021.

Australians may not see unrestricted international travel until October 2021. Pictured on the left man and woman wearing face masks carrying backpacks. On the right is a photo of Qantas planes behind a fence.
Professor Peter Collignon believes Aussies may see limited international travel by that by October 2020, but it’s unlikely there will be unrestricted international travel until about October 2021. Source: AAP

"This virus is everywhere around the world, so basically the problem we've got is if you go overseas, when you come back to Australia for quite a while, New Zealand might be the exception, you're going to have to go into quarantine for a couple of weeks,” he said.

Prof Collignon, who is a microbiologist, added travellers may also face a quarantine period after arriving in another country.

He said there was a lot more research that needed to be done before Australia could safely reopen its borders.

”There is a lot we still don’t know before we can safely have people going on cruises and going overseas and coming back and reintroducing the virus,” Prof Collignon said.

He attributes his estimated timeline for international travel to winter starting up.

“Winter is a time when we get more viruses so I think we need to be careful until after our winter to see how it goes,” the microbiologist told Yahoo News Australia.

Prof Collignon suggests the transition back to normal international travel will be a slow one with many restrictions.


“I think international travel other than really critical business reasons or family reasons is not going to be happening in a big way any time soon,” he said.

“And it’s going to be with restrictions for those who really do need it for family reasons et cetera.”

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