Published on : February 7, 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 February 21 of this year."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia would reopen its borders to tourists from February 21, ending some of the world's strictest and oldest travel restrictions.
"It's been almost two years since we decided to close the borders with Australia," Morrison said after a National Security Cabinet meeting. Vaccinated international travellers will finally be able to re-enter Australia in March.
The country's borders were closed precisely two years before March 2020. Skilled migrants and international students were not admitted until December 2021. But now that Covid19 cases are down in all states except Western Australia. Australia's Home Secretary says he is giving opening up a "priority."
The minister said the most significant issue of opening up to tourists would be the impact on hospitals. In January, nurses in Australia called on the military to come to the aid of hospitals as they were overwhelmed by a large wave of Omicron.
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 slowly relaxed for Australians, long-term residents and students.
The newest decision will see almost all remaining caps lifted.
A Deputy Prime Minister said hospitals had seen a record number of hospitalizations, But more than 4,000 nurses could not work because they had been exposed to Covid19.
Australia will seek to bolster its tourism industry by ending border restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign tourists. The hospitality industry Down Under has been hit hard by Covid-induced border restrictions and lockdowns, which have been repeatedly extended due to the emergence of worrying new variants.
The Home Secretary said Australia's economy was still under pressure from Covid19 and wanted to see foreigners return to boost the country's important tourism industry. Over 90% of Australians are vaccinated, and 8.8 million booster doses have been administered.
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