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Australia To Reopen Borders To Tourists On Feb 21

Australia To Reopen Borders for Tourists On Feb 21 After Almost 2 Years

08/02/2022

“It’s almost two years since we took the decision to close the borders to Australia,” Scott Morrison said. “Australia will reopen our borders to all remaining visa holders on the 21st of February of this year.”

Australia will reopen its borders to 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.

He announced the borders will reopen to all visa holders “on the 21st of February of this year,” adding, “if you’re double vaccinated, we look forward to welcoming you back to Australia.”

Australia’s borders slammed shut in March 2020 in the hope of protecting the island continent against a surging global 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 stranded nationals overseas, split families, hammered the country’s multi-billion-dollar tourist industry, and prompted often bitter debates about Australia’s status as a modern, open and outward-looking nation.

Every month of border closures has cost businesses an estimated US$2.6 billion, according to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In recent months, rules have been gradually 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, vaccination rates rose and the once stellar track-and-trace system collapsed under a wave of Omicron cases.

Only a handful of countries remain closed to tourists — among them Japan, China, New Zealand and several Pacific Island nations

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