australia: Australia to reopen borders to tourists on February 21

SYDNEY: Australia will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated tourists from February 21, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Monday, ending some of the world’s strictest and longest-running pandemic travel restrictions.
« It’s almost two years since we took the decision to close the borders to Australia, » Morrison said after a meeting of the national security cabinet.
« If you’re double vaccinated, we look forward to welcoming you back to Australia. »
Australia’s borders slammed shut in March 2020 to protect the island continent against a surging pandemic.
For most of the time since then, Australians have been barred from leaving and only a handful of visitors have been granted exemptions to enter.
The rules have split families, hammered the country’s large tourist industry and prompted sometimes acrimonious debates about Australia’s status as a modern, open and outward-looking nation.
Little-by-little rules have been relaxed for Australians, long-term residents and students.
The latest decision will see almost all remaining caps lifted.
It comes after the country’s long-standing « Covid-zero » policy was abandoned and the once stellar track-and-trace system collapsed under a wave of Omicron cases.

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