State and territory leaders will meet on Friday to discuss improving COVID-19 safety on international travel to prevent an outbreak of the new strains of the virus.
The special meeting of national cabinet has been called for Friday to consider a proposal from the national expert medical panel to strengthen end-to-end protocols from arrival at the airport of embarkation through to final clearance from hotel quarantine in Australia.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement on Facebook on Wednesday, saying "this is being done particularly in the context of the UK strain."
Mr Morrison said the expert panel has been meeting every day during the recent outbreak, and the proposal for changes to the international travel protocols was first discussed on Wednesday. A formal submission to national cabinet is being prepared.
The leaders will also receive an update on the federal government's vaccination program. The timeline for first COVID-19 vaccinations in Australia was moved forward by several months to the beginning of March, Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed on Wednesday.
The Labor opposition has been urging the government to begin rollout of the vaccine as soon as TGA approval is complete, expected in January or early February. The government's contracts with the vaccine manufacturers and logistics make altering the timeline difficult.
National cabinet last meet on December 11 when the focus had moved on from outbreaks and hotel quarantine protocols and replaced with plans for the vaccine rollout. The cabinet was not due to reconvene until February 5, even as Mr Morrison and state leaders faced pressure to hold a national cabinet to deal with border restrictions over the recent outbreaks in NSW.