Australia's borders are reopening for vaccinated travelers

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Sydney Harbor in Australia. The country will reopen its borders to business and leisure travelers later this month.
Sydney Harbor in Australia. The country will reopen its borders to business and leisure travelers later this month.

Australia in two weeks will reopen its borders to all fully vaccinated travelers, allowing business travelers and tourists from around the world to freely visit for the first time in nearly two years.

Prime minister Scott Morrison in a press conference on Monday said all double-vaccinated visa holders can enter Australia as of Feb. 21. The country has "been progressively opening its borders" since last November, when it reopened international travel for its own citizens, he said. 

It also has put programs in place for travel with New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and South Korea, and for international students, backpackers and economic migrants. "Those programs have proceeded very successfully," Morrison said.

Since that reopening began, Australia has had about 580,000 arrivals to the country, according to a joint statement by Morrison and Australia's ministers of health and aged care, home affairs and trade, tourism and investment. The larger reopening is possible amid "improving health conditions, including a recent 23% decline in hospitalizations due to Covid," according to the statement.

Morrison in the press conference added that any "state-based cap arrangements on arrivals and state-based quarantine arrangements will continue," and it will be up to local regulators to adjust those as they see fit. Western Australia, for example, still has a 14-day quarantine requirement in place for all international arrivals, including seven days in hotel quarantine.

Travelers who are not fully vaccinated will still need a valid travel exemption to visit Australia and will be subject to quarantine requirements for unvaccinated travelers.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the carrier "will be looking at our schedules to see if we can restart flights from more international destinations sooner or add capacity to those routes we are already flying" in light of the announcement, according to a report from Australia's Sky News.

Source: Business Travel News

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