Australia eases travel ban for first time since 2020, but tourists shouldn’t get excited
After almost two years of COVID-19 travel restrictions, Australia is set to relax travel restrictions for fully vaccinated visa holders in what has been called a “major milestone” by the nation's prime minister, Scott Morrison.
From Dec. 1, skilled workers and travelers on working holidays – including international students and skilled migrants – will be allowed entry to Australia without being required to seek exemptions.
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The news follows the reopening of borders on Nov. 1 to allow quarantine-free travel to Australian nationals and permanent residents.
A decision on when general tourists will be allowed to return to the popular holiday country has yet to be made, something that should be taken into account before rushing to book a quick trip Down Under.
Approved travelers will be able to arrive in Australia without quarantine in New South Wales and Victoria, although pandemic restrictions will still be in place in parts of the country with lower vaccination rates.
Related: Why you might want to wait to book a trip to Australia
The Australian government expects to see an estimated 200,000 travelers between December and January. Travelers must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days prior to arriving.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said:
“I think Australians are very keen to see us take this step-by-step approach. They’ve been through a lot and they’ve sacrificed a lot to ensure that we can open safely so we can stay safely open.”
Australia has seen some of the strictest COVID-19 restrictions in the world and until very recently had even barred its own nationals from leaving the country.
According to recent figures, more than 85% of the Australian population age 16 and over is now fully vaccinated.