Australia Looks to Reopen Borders By Christmas
A kangaroo hops along a beach in West Australia.
Christmas reopening at the latest
Australia is set to reopen its borders to tourists by Christmas, according to the country’s Tourism Minister. Australia and neighbouring New Zealand have had some of the world’s strictest controls on overseas travel since the Covid-19 pandemic began, with their borders shut to virtually everyone apart from residents and citizens. "It's another reason why everyone should get vaccinated ... we have to stick to the national plan that will see our international border open up – at this rate by Christmas at the latest," Australia's Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said in a talk broadcast online.
One of the targets for reopening is passing an 80% national vaccination rate. According to Our World in Data, 38% of Australians are fully vaccinated against Covid, and a further 21% are partially vaccinated. International visitors will need to prove they are fully vaccinated before entering Australia. The government is also exploring the concept of travel bubbles with several countries and hopes to make home quarantine operational before Christmas. Australia is ahead of New Zealand with its reopening plans. Its smaller neighbour does not yet have a timeframe for loosening its strict border controls, which require everyone entering the country to quarantine in a designated hotel for two weeks.
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