Australia Reopens International Travel After Two Years Of Strict Border Closure
Australia, one of the countries with the most strict restrictions on international travel, will reopen its borders to tourism and business travel on February 21st, 2022.
This happens almost two years after Australia shut down its international borders as a preventive measure to keep the COVID-19 pandemic under control in its territories. Only very few exceptions were contemplated at the time, making Australia’s COVID-19 policies one of the most severe in the world. Not even international students and family members of Australian residents could enter the country.
Then, the borders reopened for international students, talented migrants, and vaccinated travelers from South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and New Zealand on different stages. The government also allowed fully vaccinated family members of Australian residents to enter the country for visiting their loved ones, as long as they could provide proof of the relationship.
Now, vaccinated families and individuals of all countries and categories will be able to reunite, work, study in Australia more freely, as well as travel there for tourism purposes. All that the interested parties will need is a valid visa as decided by the National Security Committee of Cabinet.
The measures aim at activating the tourism industry in the country —which provided work for 660,000 people and produced $60 billion in the pre-pandemic era— while also protecting the population’s health. This is why only vaccinated travelers will be allowed.
This decision is part of a national plan to respond to the COVID-19 threat in concordance with the advice of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity of the University of Melbourne.
The National Plan to Transition Australia’s COVID-19 Response includes four steps that establish different sanitary measures in relation to the population’s vaccination status and internal COVID-19 outbreaks. The Australian authorities consider that the country is already in the post-vaccination phase now that 94% of residents are fully vaccinated and more than 10 million people over the age of 16 have a third dose.
Furthermore, in a media statement from Australia’s government it is mentioned that there has been a 23% decline in the hospitalization rates due to COVID-19.
In order to keep improving these rates, Australia will still be denying entry to non-vaccinated international travelers. If a non-vaccinated person is exempted from the entry ban for any of the reasons listed by the Australian Department of Home Affairs, he or she may still be required to fulfill a self-isolation period and/or other state-specific COVID-related norms.
Unvaccinated travelers can also be required to present a medical certificate that explains the medical reasons why the person has not received the COVID-19 vaccine.