The Australian government will unlock the country’s borders to all fully vaccinated visa holders on February 21, 2022. For the first time in over two years, fully vaccinated visitors, corporate travellers and others will be permitted to enter Australia without first acquiring a travel exemption. The loosening of entrance restrictions comes as Australia sees a 23% drop in COVID-related hospitalizations as the omicron wave begins to recede. The decision by Australia to reopen its borders to fully vaccinated tourists, business visitors, and others mark a significant step forward in the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move comes after the government announced in December 2021 that fully vaccinated visa holders in specified subclasses, such as the 482 – Temporary Skills Shortage visa and the 400 – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa, will be eligible for exemption-free travel. The government recently announced that all fully vaccinated visa holders are now eligible for exemption-free travel. In order to enter Australia, visa holders who are not fully vaccinated will need a valid travel exemption and will be subject to state and territory quarantine procedures.
If an individual has completed a course of a vaccination authorised or recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), including mixed doses, the Australian government will consider them “completely vaccinated” for travel purposes. The following vaccinations and doses are currently recognised for travel purposes: Two doses, at least 14 days apart, of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Bharat Biotech, Sinopharm, Sputnik V, or Novavax vaccines; or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine.
For a traveller to be deemed completely vaccinated, at least seven days must have passed since the last dose of vaccine in a course of immunisation. As proof of immunisation, travellers must show a paper or digital copy of an International Covid 19 Vaccination Certificate.
The news brought joy to Australia’s travel and tourist industry, which had been struggling due to an almost 98 per cent drop in visitor numbers compared to pre-pandemic levels. Tony Walker, managing director of the Quicksilver Group, which conducts cruises, diving, and resorts around the Great Barrier Reef, said, Hence, he is quite excited about being able to reopen. “The last several years have been tremendously terrible for us,” he told AFP, inviting people from around the world to “come visit.” During the pandemic, the company’s workforce shrank from 650 to 300 people. Therefore, this news comes as a relief to Tourism Australia.
Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)