Australia to reopen border to vaccinated visitors

The Australian government says visa holders who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus can enter the country without needing to apply for a travel exemption, starting on December 1.

Australia effectively closed its border in March of last year to prevent the virus from entering. People who visit the country for work or other essential business need to obtain a travel exemption.

The government announced on Monday that eligible visa holders including skilled workers and students will be able to enter the country, by presenting proof of their vaccination status and a negative PCR test.

It also announced that Australia will welcome back fully vaccinated tourists from Japan and South Korea from next month under the same conditions.

Some states, such as New South Wales where the country's largest city of Sydney is located, have scrapped a 14-day quarantine requirement for visitors. But Queensland, which houses the third-largest city of Brisbane, is keeping the requirement in place regardless of the nationality of visitors.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters on Monday that the reopening of the border means a lot for the country's economy.