Australia has opened its international borders to all vaccinated tourists, nearly two years after imposing some of the world’s strictest Covid-19 travel restrictions on Monday.
More than 50 international flights will arrive in the country today, with 27 landing in Sydney, the country’s largest city, as the tourism and hospitality sectors try to rebuild after being hammered by COVID-19 restrictions.
“It’s a very happy day, one that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time since the day I first shut that border right at the start of the pandemic,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Tasmania, an island state that relies heavily on tourism.
In an effort to slow the rise in Covid-19 cases, the country closed its borders to almost everyone except citizens and residents in March 2020.
Australia, once a champion of COVID-suppression strategy, has shifted away from fortress-style controls and relentless lockdowns since late last year and has begun to live with the virus after reaching higher vaccination levels. Skilled migrants, international students, and backpackers have been allowed to fly into Australia in a phased reopening since November.