Photo shows the skyline of Sydney, one of Australia’s largest cities. Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Reuters
Australia will open its borders to all vaccinated tourists and business travelers from Feb. 21 in a further relaxation of pandemic restrictions announced Monday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Monday that his country has decided to reopen its borders to travellers, 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.
When the border restrictions were relaxed in November in response to an increasing vaccination rate among the Australian population, international students and skilled migrants were prioritised over tourists in being welcomed back to Australia.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during an event. File photo
Morrison said his senior ministers agreed that the border would reopen to all vaccinated visas holders.
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 imposed some of the world’s toughest travel restrictions on its citizens and permanent residents in March 2020 to prevent them from bringing COVID-19 home.
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.
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 $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.
More than 50 international flights will reach the country through the day, including 27 touching down in Sydney, its largest city, as the tourism and hospitality sectors look to rebuild after getting hammered by COVID-19 restrictions.
Travel procedures updated for vaccinated citizens, residents and visitors. They come into force from Sunday, September 5.
State Premier Daniel Andrews, however, said large industries would have to close for the next six weeks. Victoria has recorded several hundred new COVID-19 infections each day for the last few weeks.
The deployment of the team, the first of its kind in the world to be in Derna following the natural disaster that hit the country recently, comes as part of the UAE's efforts to aid Libya in dealing with the aftermath of the floods caused by the heavy rains, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries.
UAE Minister Sultan Al Jaber calls on the world to be 'brave and bold' and get 'back on track' to meet its climate ambitions, reaffirming the founding principles of UN and to think 'beyond borders, beyond politics.'
Chairperson of Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park, Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, welcomed inspiring women from around the world to The Women in Tech Forum and The Women in Tech Awards held at the SRTI Park ..
This came during a press conference held at the IACAD's headquarters in the presence of Dr. Hamad Bin Sheikh Ahmed Al Shaibani, Director General of IACAD, Mohammed Ali Bin Zayed Al Falasi, Executive Director of the Mosques Affairs, Dr. Omar Mohammed Al Khatib, Executive Director of the Islamic Affairs, Ahmed Khalfan Al Mansouri, Advisor for Cultural Communication, and Mohammed Musabah Dahi, Executive Director of the Charitable Work, along with directors of departments.