Australia to Lift COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates for Overseas Travellers

Australia will remove COVID-19 vaccine mandates for international travellers and tourists on July 6.

Following advice from Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, the Australian government has made changes to the Biosecurity Act, allowing overseas passengers to enter the country without declaring their vaccination status.

Apart from flight passengers, the changes will also apply to travellers coming to Australia by sea.

At the same time, the Australian government will no longer require unvaccinated visa holders to get a visa travel exemption.

However, passengers are still required to wear masks on international flights to Australia.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said the removal of vaccination requirements would benefit travelling Australians and international tourists and workers as well as reduce delays at airports.

“As more and more of us travel internationally and we get more confident in managing our risk of COVID, our airports are getting busier,” O’Neil said.

“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.

“I know anyone who has travelled internationally since the borders have opened will find this as one less thing to worry about—especially as more Australians get back to travelling overseas.”

Currently, the Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD), which was implemented in September 2021, requires international travellers coming to Australia to provide a range of information, including their contact details, vaccination status, and where they had been in the past 14 days.

Additionally, travellers are subject to quarantine and testing requirements.

Recently arrived international travellers
Recently arrived international travellers walk through the Melbourne Airport International arrivals hall in Melbourne, Australia on Nov. 1, 2021. (Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

Australians Urged to Get Booster Shots

The news that international tourists will no longer need to declare their vaccination status comes as Australia deals with the winter wave of COVID-19 infections. Federal Health Minister Mark Butler is encouraging people to get booster shots if they are eligible.

“There is pressure on our hospitals with more than 3,000 people in hospital today with COVID, and we’re still seeing around 300 or more deaths every week with COVID,” he said.

“We are not through this virus yet.”

Meanwhile, Queensland’s health authorities have announced there will be no change to the state’s mask rules despite increasing community pressure to bring back mask mandates.

“I don’t have any recommendations from the chief health officer here in Queensland to do that,” Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said.

“But we do remind people as we go through this third wave that they can make those decisions (about when to wear masks) for themselves.”

From The Epoch Times