World

Vaccinated Australians, PRs can travel without special exemption

SYDNEY All fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to leave the country without a special exemption from next Monday, the authorities said yesterday, as Australia eases coronavirus restrictions amid a rise in vaccination rates.

Australians have been unable to travel abroad for more than 18 months without a government waiver, while thousands of fully vaccinated residents living abroad have been unable to return due to a cap on arrivals, to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Many of these are now expected to return after Sydney and Melbourne ended quarantine rules for inoculated travellers. Other cities, mostly virus-free, are expected to ease their border rules once they reach higher vaccination rates.

"The national plan is working... (it) is about opening Australia up and that is because the vaccination rates are climbing so high," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Seven News yesterday.

BOOSTER

Australia's drug regulator, meanwhile, provisionally approved a booster dose of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine for people aged over 18, as first-dose vaccination levels in people over 16 neared 90 per cent.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the roll-out is expected to begin by Nov 8 once the government receives advice from the country's vaccination technical advisory group.

The decision to lift the travel ban from next week comes after Singapore on Tuesday said it would allow quarantine-free entry to travellers vaccinated against Covid-19 from Australia from Nov 8.

Even with the Delta outbreaks, Australia has fared better than many comparable countries, with around 164,000 cases and 1,669 deaths. - REUTERS

WORLD