CORONAVIRUS

Australia to open borders to vaccinated travelers on Feb. 21

Feb 7, 2022, 6:17 AM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:40 pm
People line up at the Histopath pre-departure COVID testing clinic at Sydney International airport ...
People line up at the Histopath pre-departure COVID testing clinic at Sydney International airport on December 23, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. Demand at COVID-19 testing centres across Sydney has increased in the lead up to Christmas as NSW coronavirus case numbers rise. People travelling to Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia are required to show a negative PCR test to enter those states while Western Australia's borders are closed to NSW travellers. (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia will open its borders to all vaccinated tourists and business travelers from Feb. 21 in a further relaxation of pandemic restrictions announced Monday.

Australia imposed some of the world’s toughest travel restrictions on its citizens and permanent residents in March 2020 to prevent them from bringing COVID-19 home.

When the border restrictions were relaxed in November in response to an increasing vaccination rate among the Australian population, international students and skilled migrants were prioritized over tourists in being welcomed back to Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his senior ministers agreed on Monday that the border would reopen to all vaccinated visas holders from Feb. 21.

Morrison said visitors must have proof of vaccination. He referred to Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic being deported by the Australian government last month because he was not vaccinated against coronavirus.

“Events earlier in the year should have sent a very clear message, I think, to everyone around the world that that is the requirement to enter into Australia,” Morrison said.

The Djokovic case demonstrated that visitors gaining visas through an automated process before setting off for Australia does not guarantee that they will meet entry requirements on arrival.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said visitors who could provide proof of a medical reason why they could not be vaccinated could apply for a travel exemption.

Visitors to Australia could also have to contend with various states’ COVID-19 rules if they move around the country.

The strictest state border rules are enforced by Western Australia which covers a third of the island continent.

The state allows only 265 international arrivals a week and requires a 14-day quarantine period.

Australia delayed its staged border reopening after two Australians who returned from southern Africa on Nov. 27 became the first to test positive for the omicron variant.

The arrivals of students and skilled workers were postponed by two weeks until Dec. 15.

Tourist operators have been lobbying the government to bring tourists back sooner. The southern hemisphere summer is in its final month.

The Australian Tourism Export Council, the peak industry body representing the nation’s tourism export sector, said tourism operations were looking forward to rebuilding their markets.

“Australian tourism businesses will rejoice in the news that our borders will reopen to all international travelers,” the council’s managing director Peter Shelley said.

“It’s been a long, hard and desperate road for every tourism business across the country and we have lost many along the way, but this news will give those who have survived a clear target to work towards and a start point for the rebuilding of the industry,” Shelley added.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus

Representative Tricia Derges (Credit: Missouri House of Representatives)...
Associated Press

Missouri lawmaker resigns from House after fraud conviction for selling Covid treatments

A Missouri GOP legislator has resigned after being convicted of falsely claiming she was giving patients stem cell treatments for COVID-19.
2 days ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Jacob King - WPA Pool/Getty Images)...
MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer

Moderna COVID-19 shots now an option for older kids in US

There is now a second COVID-19 option for kids ages 6 to 17 in the U.S.
11 days ago
Pfizer says it's COVID-19 vaccine is 100% effective in kids 12 to 15. (Justin Tallis-Pool/Getty Ima...
Jen Christensen, CNN

What are the COVID-19 vaccine side effects in young kids? Experts seek to ease parents’ concerns

Experts look at what side effects to expect from the COVID vaccine for children six months and older.
13 days ago
The Nurse Crisis and Patent Risk....
Debbie Worthen

Utah registered nurses are leaving the field, creating the ‘perfect storm’

"Without nurses, we can't have hospitals." Utah nurses are overworked and underpaid. Some say it's put people at risk.
14 days ago
Four-year-old Viola Fairfax-Panza Getting her COVID-19 vaccination, held by her mother Keke Fairfax...
Jed Boal

Salt Lake Co. distributes COVID vaccines for children 6-months and older

Salt Lake County begins COVID-19 vaccinations for children 6 months and older.
14 days ago
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about Covid-19 vaccines for children, in the Roosevelt Room of the ...
ZEKE MILLER and JOSH BOAK, Associated Press

Biden visits clinic, celebrates COVID shots for kids under 5

President Joe Biden is celebrating that virtually all Americans can now get a COVID-19 shot after the authorization of vaccines for kids under 5 over the weekend.
14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Australia to open borders to vaccinated travelers on Feb. 21