Australia reopens borders closed since March 2020 to vaccinated non-citizens
Australia reopened its borders on Wednesday to skilled migrants and foreign students who have received a coronavirus vaccine more than a year and a half after they were closed
The omicron variant slightly delayed the reopening, with officials pushing back the lifting of the entry ban by two weeks in order to obtain more information on the strain, Reuters reported.
News of the borders reopening comes as the country seeks to boost its economy after multiple lockdowns, the news service noted.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison acknowledged that while Australia’s most populous state reported its largest increase in daily infections, the Australian government is prepared to handle the virus.
“We’re going to live with this virus, and we’re not going to let it drag us back to where we’ve been,” Morrison told a local radio station, according to Reuters.
“We’ve got one of the highest vaccination rates, which means we can fight this thing,” Morrison added. “We don’t have to surrender to it.”
Australia closed its borders in March of 2020 at the onset of the pandemic and limited the number of citizens and residents who were allowed to reenter the country after that.
Nearly 90 percent of people in Australia over the age of 16 have received at least doses of a coronavirus vaccine. The country has reported nearly 235,500 cases and 2,117 COVID-19-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.