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IANS

Australia's international borders will reopen to fully vaccinated tourists from February 21 after almost two years since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday.

It marks one of the most significant easing of Australia's border closure since it was introduced to prevent the spread of the virus in March 2020, reports Xinhua news agency.

However, arrivals could still face a mandatory quarantine period depending on the rules in the state or territory they arrive in.

"The national cabinet has decided today Australia will reopen our borders to all remaining visa holders on February 21 of this year," Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

"The condition is you must be double vaccinated to come to Australia."

Travellers who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 will be required to apply for a travel exemption to enter Australia.

Border restrictions were eased for international students and some visa holders in December last year, prompting calls from the tourism industry for travellers to be allowed in.

"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," Morrison said.

Australia reported more than 20,000 new Covidd-19 infections and more than 40 deaths on Monday.

According to the Department of Health, there were 4,147 cases being treated in hospitals nationwide, including 286 in intensive care units.
 

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