Australia has announced the reopening of its borders to vaccinated tourists and other visa holders for the first time in almost two years.
“If you’re double vaccinated, we look forward to welcoming you back,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. The reopening, on February 21, will be welcome news for many sectors including international education.
Australia has had some of the world’s strictest border controls throughout the corona virus pandemic.
In March 2020, the government closed the borders. It barred most foreigners from entering the country and put caps on total arrivals to help combat Covid. Some international students and skilled migrants have been permitted to enter the country since last December.
Morrison said those entering Australia when the borders fully reopened would need to provide proof of vaccination. “That’s the rule. Everyone is expected to abide by it,” he said. Un-vaccinated travellers who have a medical reason for not being jabbed will still need to apply for a travel exemption and, if successful, will be required to quarantine at a hotel.
Since the start of the pandemic, Australia has implemented strict measures to help fight the spread of Covid infections – even banning its own people from leaving the country last year.
The country has so far reported more than 2.7 million cases of coronavirus and 4,248 Covid-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Nearly 80% of the population is fully vaccinated.