Australia scraps Covid-19 vaccine requirement for international travellers

International travellers will be able to enter Australia without declaring their COVID-19 vaccination status from Wednesday, following advice from the country’s chief medical officer.

The change made to the Biosecurity Act will also mean that all visa holders can travel to the country without an exemption.

“The Australian government makes decisions on COVID-related issues after considering the latest medical advice,” Australia’s federal Health Minister Mark Butler said in a statement announcing the decision.

“The chief medical officer has advised it is no longer necessary for travellers to declare their vaccine status as part of our management of COVID.”

“Unvaccinated Australians, as well as certain groups of visa holders, have been able to travel to Australia for some time.”

Travellers still need to comply with COVID-19 requirements put in place by airlines and shipping operators, in addition to other countries and states and territories.

Masks remain mandatory on inbound international flights, while mask requirements on domestic flights put into place by states and territories also remain.

Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security Clare O’Neil said the changes for visa holders would inject more skilled workers into the country.

“Removing these requirements will not only reduce delays in our airports but will encourage more visitors and skilled workers to choose Australia as a destination,” she said in a statement.

“And for Australian citizens, with the removal of these requirements, returning home will be much easier.”

Ms O’Neil also noted that the digital passenger declaration used to declare COVID-19 vaccination status would eventually replace paper-based incoming passenger cards, but it “needs a lot more work to make it user friendly”.

The maritime travel declaration will also be scrapped.

Source: The Canberra Times

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