Australia to reopen international borders

australian flag on flag pole with open boom gate in foreground

After almost two years, Australia will reopen its international borders and welcome back fully vaccinated tourists from 21 February.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement on Monday, just hours after the government’s national security committee was briefed on the latest health advice.

While the international borders have been open since late 2021, entry has only been allowed for citizens, permanent residents and their families, with it later expanded to international students, backpackers and migrant workers.

Read: What’s the risk if Australia opens its international borders

Mr Morrison said the move would be a welcome boost to the tourism sector.

“I know the tourism industry will be looking forward to that, and over the next two weeks they’ll get the opportunity both for visitors to be coming and for them to be gearing up to welcome international visitors back to Australia,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“The condition is you must be double vaccinated to come to Australia. That’s the rule. Everyone is expected to abide by it.”

Home affairs minister Karen Andrews said visa holders who are not fully vaccinated will still require an exemption and be subject to the relevant state and territory quarantine requirements.

State-based caps on quarantine will also continue, with the caps still being determined by state and territory governments.

Read: Why tourism returning to the ‘old normal’ would be a disaster

Tourism operators have been experiencing a downturn due to the virus and the loss of foreign visitors and were calling on the government to lift the ban on tourists.

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