Australia’s government closed the county’s borders in March 2020 to protect its citizens from the spread of COVID-19. While the country has been gradually easing its travel restrictions, Australia is now poised to remove a significant requirement.
Australia, which fully reopened to international visitors last month, currently requires international travelers be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 3 days of their flight. Or, international travelers can show proof of a negative rapid antigen test taken under medical supervision within 24 hours of their flight.
That’s about to change. After April 17, Australia will lift its pre-arrival test requirements for international travelers. Australia will lift its restriction against cruise ships entering its territorial waters on that date as well, according to Greg Hunt, Australia’s minister for Health and Aged Care.
“Shutting the international borders early was a tough but decisive action, which enabled Australia to manage the pandemic and minimize the loss of life,” Hunt said in a statement.
“The past 2 years have been challenging, but we have shown the best of Australia — people caring for each other, working from home, home schooling, and importantly being vaccinated,” Hunt continued. “We thank Australians for their resilience, their cooperation, and their understanding in following the medical advice which has kept us safe.”
As you may expect, however, international travelers on their way to Australia must still provide proof that they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. They also will be required to wear a mask while on international flights.
Getting To This Point
The change in travel restrictions is happening because Australia won’t renew its Biosecurity Emergency Determination relating to COVID-19 when it lapses on April 17. That step is possible due to the country’s climbing COVID-19 vaccination and booster rates.
Indeed, more than 95 percent of Australia’s population over the age of 16 is fully vaccinated for COVID-19, according to the Australian Department of Health. Secondly, just over 51 percent of the country’s eligible population has received a COVID-19 booster as well.
It must be pointed out, however, that the Department of Health reports that 59,626 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the last 24 hours. The flip side of the coin is that that number is down dramatically from the record-high 1-day tally of 175,271 new cases that were reported on January 12, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
Traveling To Australia Before April 17
Australia currently requires all visitors to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter. They also must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 3 days of their flight or proof of a negative rapid antigen test taken under medical supervision within 24 hours of their flight.
If you plan to travel to Australia, you’ll need to keep in mind that state and territorial governments have the right to set their own entry rules, which means testing and quarantine requirements may differ by state and territory. You can check to see if you’ll be subject to quarantine upon arrival by state or territory here.
You can find all the current rules for traveling to Australia here.
Know Before You Go
The good news is that Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination rate has been climbing while case counts are falling.
That said, Australia is still on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Level 4 list of countries with very high levels of COVID-19. The CDC bluntly warns “Avoid travel to Australia.”
While you’re thinking about a trip to Australia, be sure to read: