Scott Morrison reveals when Australia border will finally open

International tourists will be allowed to come back to Australia from February 21.

After almost two years of foreign travellers not being allowed to come to the country, fully vaccinated tourists will be able to arrive in a matter of days.

The decision comes following a meeting of cabinet's national security committee on Monday.

While the international borders have been opened since late 2021, entry has only been allowed for citizens, permanent residents and their families, with it later expanded to international students, backpackers and migrant workers.

Australia's border will reopen to the vaccinated world in the coming weeks. Source: Getty
Australia's border will reopen to the vaccinated world in the coming weeks. Source: Getty

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the move would be a welcome boost to the tourism sector.

"I know the tourism industry will be looking forward to that, and over the next two weeks they'll get the opportunity both for visitors to be coming and for them to be gearing up to welcome international visitors back to Australia," he told reporters in Canberra.

"The condition is you must be double vaccinated to come to Australia. That's the rule. Everyone is expected to abide by it."

State-based caps on quarantine will also continue, with the caps still being determined by state and territory governments.

Health experts have previously indicated Australia's coronavirus situation was improving, with Omicron cases across the country plateauing.

Tourism operators had been experiencing a downturn due to the virus and the loss of foreign visitors, and had been calling on the government to lift the ban on tourists arriving.

People hug at airport.
Tourism operators have been calling for the border reopening for some time. Source: Getty

Opposition home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally said while the border reopening would be great to see, a clear plan was needed.

She wants to see guarantees of border officials being able to properly check vaccination statuses, as well as measures for airports to cope with the demand once tourism resumes.

"I think the borders should take into account the health advice and of course it's important to consider where or not our hospitals can cope," she told reporters earlier on Monday in Canberra.

"What I'm pointing to are the practical steps that have not been done by this government and the problems that will arise if they don't do the hard work."

It comes as a decline in cases and contact tracing efforts have led to some jurisdictions scaling back contact tracing apps, with the ACT and Queensland on Monday making changes to their check-in apps.

On Monday, 14 Covid-19 deaths were reported in NSW, and there were seven fatalities in Victoria, while there were 19 in Queensland, and one in both the ACT and Tasmania.

The latest case numbers showed there were 7,347 new infections in NSW and 8,275 in Victoria, while Queensland registered 4,701 cases, Tasmania had 443 and the ACT had 299.

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