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Australia to welcome back tourists after two years – but they must be double jabbed

Australia is to reopen its borders to all vaccinated travellers later this month after two years of barring tourists due to the pandemic.

When the restrictions are lifted on 21 February it will be the first time since March 2020 that travellers will be able enter the country from anywhere in the world.

“If you’re double vaccinated, we look forward to welcoming you back to Australia,” Scott Morrison, the prime minister, said.

The prime minister alluded to the Novak Djokovic incident when he said travellers must prove their vaccination status

He alluded to the saga of Novak Djokovic‘s visa, when he said people entering the country must be able to prove their vaccination status.


“Events earlier in the year should have sent a very clear message, I think, to everyone around the world that that is the requirement to enter into Australia,” Mr Morrison said.

Djokovic was deported from the country last month before the start of the Australian Open after his visa was cancelled over his refusal to be vaccinated.

Anyone with medical proof that they cannot be vaccinated will be able to apply for an exemption to the visa requirement, Karen Andrews, the home affairs minister, said.

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Australia imposed some of the longest and toughest lockdowns in the world but in recent months has relaxed some rules on travel, such as allowing skilled migrants to enter and setting up “travel bubbles” with countries such as New Zealand.

Like many nations, Australia had an Omicron-fuelled surge but the situation has improved significantly in recent weeks and it recorded just over 23,000 cases on Monday from a peak of 150,000 about a month ago.

Its total pandemic deaths stand at 4,248 – a fraction of the UK’s 158,000 within 28 days of a positive test.

The country’s normally booming tourist industry welcomed the prospect of foreign travellers returning.

“Over the two years since the borders have been closed the industry has been on its knees,” Peter Shelley, head of the Australian Tourism Export Council, said.

“Now we can turn our collective efforts towards rebuilding an industry that is in disrepair.”

Some A$101.7bn (£53.3bn) has been lost in the international and domestic tourism industry since the start of the pandemic, according to the government body Tourism Research Australia.


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