Australia to welcome travellers after two years of COVID-induced border closures

Feb 7 2022, 3:41 pm

After two years of border closures, Australia is finally welcoming all vaccinated travellers starting this month.

In March 2020, Australia closed its borders in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. Only permanent residents and citizens were allowed to travel to and from the country with restrictions, such as a two-week quarantine period and a limited number of arrivals into the country per day.

Last November, Australia saw a partial reopening as the states of New South Wales, and Victoria reopened their borders. Since then, more than 580,000 people have flown into the country to study, work, or reunite with family.

Today, the Australian government announced the whole country would be opening to travellers worldwide. The Australian government announced on Monday that beginning February 21, all fully vaccinated tourists, business travellers, and other visitors would be able to fly into the country.

“If you’re double-vaccinated, we look forward to welcoming you back to Australia,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters.

In their statement, the Australian government said that its healthcare system had demonstrated resilience throughout COVID-19 and the Omicron wave.

“With improving health conditions, including a recent 23 percent decline in hospitalizations due to COVID, the National Security Committee of Cabinet today agreed Australia is ready to further progress the staged reopening of our international border,” the statement reads.

Travellers who have visas but aren’t fully vaccinated will need to reproduce a valid travel exemption to enter the country and will have to abide by the quarantine rules of the territory in which they land.

The reopening is also expected to help boost Australia’s tourism industry, which suffered directly from the border closures.

“Today’s announcement will give certainty to our vital tourism industry and allow them to start planning, hiring and preparing for our reopening,” government officials said.

In 2018-19, tourism generated more than $60 billion for the Australian economy, with more than 660,000 jobs dependent on the industry.

Imaan SheikhImaan Sheikh

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