After two years of borders shut tight in support of a doomed Zero Covid strategy, Australia is to welcome vaccinated tourists again by March, with the Government set to announce a reopening date as early as Monday. The Daily Mail has the story.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said allowing the return of vaccinated holidaymakers and business visitors was a “priority” and the Federal Government was “very close” to announcing the re-opening.
“We are going through the process of preparing to open, and we will continue to talk to the health professionals, so as soon as they say yes, we will work with the states and territories and we will re-open our international borders to tourists,” she said.
A meeting of Cabinet’s National Security Committee on Monday will discuss the re-opening with a senior Government source reportedly confirming this would likely be within the next three weeks.
Vaccinated Australian citizens have been able to travel through the country’s international border since November 1st, while skilled migrants and foreign students were welcomed back in mid-December.
But with case numbers in Australia and abroad falling, focus is now shifting to non-essential travel such as holidays.
Covid cases and hospitalisations have been on a downward trend in recent weeks in almost all states except Western Australia. …
The first tourists will arrive by plane with the return of cruise ships likely to be much later as agreements with state governments that control ports need to be reached.
The Government also recently relaxed testing requirements for those flying into Australia with negative rapid antigen tests within the previous 24 hours now accepted along with PCR tests within the previous three days.
Ms Andrews said she could not guarantee the international border would not close again but the Government would make every effort to ensure it stayed open.
“I was very keen to reopen our borders to the economic cohorts and also to international students on December 1st, but then we were hit with Omicron and that was delayed by two weeks,” she said.
“We are prepared to deal with what comes our way, and hopefully once the borders are open, they remain open.”
Now they just need to abandon their superstition in thinking vaccination makes a difference to infection rates, and of course drop all the testing…
Worth reading in full.