Australia to reopen to vaccinated tourists

Australia to reopen to vaccinated tourists

Travel news


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For the first time in nearly two years, most of Australia is set to welcome tourists again, under certain conditions

The Australian government has concluded that overseas tourists will be permitted to enter the country again as of February 21. The decision comes after nearly two years of some of the strictest border enforcement of any country in the world, in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The nation of 26 million people closed its borders in March 2020, prohibiting citizens from even leaving the country for a period of time last year.

Since late 2021, visitors from some countries — namely, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and South Korea — have been exempt from the ban if they meet certain criteria. Visa-holding foreign students and skilled workers have also been allowed to enter Australia since December.

Once the ban on all other visitors is lifted in just under two weeks’ time, those traveling to Australia must have completed a full course of vaccination against Covid-19. In addition, they must be able to show a negative result of a Covid-19 test taken no earlier than 3 days (PCR) or 24 hours (antigen) in advance of travel.

Girl squatting and petting a kangaroo — ShutterstockThere’s hope again for those with Australia on their bucket lists — Shutterstock

Unvaccinated travelers will need to seek personal exemption from the regulations, as before. If they are granted entry into Australia, they will have to go into quarantine in accordance with the rules in the state in which they arrive.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said yesterday that over the next two weeks, Australia will be “gearing up to welcome [back] international tourists”, but that, to anyone planning to come, “You must be double-vaccinated […]. That’s the rule; everyone is expected to abide by it.”

The state-based caps on arrivals are to remain in place, as are other state-based regulations. Western Australia is still effectively closed, both to overseas tourists and to residents of other states.

Visit Stories for more travel updates.

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