For the first time this pandemic, Australia is set to significantly ease its entry restrictions and reopen its borders to vaccinated tourists from February 21st. Australia has long since had some of the most restrictive borders in the world, coupled with extremely strict domestic Covid-19 restrictions as the country looked to keep its people safe from the virus. From February 21st, the country is set to turn over a new leaf and look towards tourism once more.
In doing so, the country seems to be following in the footsteps of its neighbor, New Zealand – a similarly restrictive country who also announced they would be gradually easing their entry restrictions over the course of the year. Here’s a closer look at Australia’s exciting reopening announcement, including what the vaccination requirements are to enter and what has been said about quarantine so far.
Australia Opens Borders – Information For Travelers
Few countries can claim to have closed their borders to international travelers for quite as long as Australia has. The Land Down Under has had its borders closed to international travelers since the earliest days of the pandemic, in March 2020, and resisted the calls from citizens and travelers alike to soften their stance at various points throughout the past two year. From February 21st however, its borders are set to open for the first time in almost two years.
Travelers are set to be able to enter without securing a travel exemption providing that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. According the Australia’s Department of Home Affairs, this means travelers must have two doses at least 14 days apart of:
- AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
- AstraZeneca Covishield
- Pfizer/Biontech Comirnaty
- Moderna Spikevax or Takeda
- Sinovac Coronavac
- Bharat Biotech Covaxin
- Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for people under 60 years of age on arrival in Australia)
- Gamaleya Research Institute Sputnik V
- Novavax/Biocelect Nuvaxovid
Travelers may also have just one dose of the Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine. Australia’s Prime Minister confirmed today that travelers will not need to have a booster vaccine. Inbound travelers will need to prove their vaccination status with an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC), or a foreign vaccination certificate that meets all of the requirements outlined on the Australian Passport Office website.
Only unvaccinated travelers who cannot be vaccinated for medical purposes will be able to enter the country, and they will need to apply for a travel exemption. According to the Home Affairs Department’s website, they will need to provide a medical certificate that clearly states this that they cannot take the vaccine, which must contain:
- Traveler’s name (this must match your travel identification documents)
- Date of medical consultation and details of your medical practitioner
- Details that clearly outline the traveler has a medical condition which means they cannot receive a COVID-19 vaccination (vaccination is contraindicated)
If they are granted permission to enter, they must undergo a period in hotel quarantine before being allowed to freely travel.
Speaking about quarantine and arrival caps for fully vaccinated arrivals, Prime Minister Morrison said: “The state-based cap arrangements on arrivals and the state-based quarantine arrangements will continue and it will be up to state governments to alter those, as they see fit, which has always been the case.”
This means that incoming travelers may be subject to different restrictions depending on which state they land in.
At present, the current testing requirements for Australia state that travelers must have a nucleic acid amplification (NAA) test, such as a PCR test, within 3 days before the day of the flight’s scheduled departure, or a rapid antigen test within 24 hours of the flight’s scheduled departure time. Travelers should note that current restrictions could be subject to change in advance of the country’s February 21st reopening date.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com