Australia Drops Global Do Not Travel Warning

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The federal government’s global ‘do not travel’ advisory has finally been removed, after Australia closed its borders against COVID 19 months ago.

The update to the SmartTraveller website precedes the phasing out of international travel restrictions in four days.

The government is also restoring country-specific levels of travel advice for 177 destinations so Australians who want to go abroad can understand the risks and more easily access travel insurance.

Australia will achieve an 80% double vaccination rate within days, before the border reopens on November 1.

“Australia will leave on Monday with international travel restrictions lifted,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament on Wednesday.

The federal government’s global “do not travel” advisory was removed after 19 months. Image: Smartaveller.gov.au

While fully vaccinated Australians will be able to leave without exemption, all travelers should be aware that COVID remains an ongoing global health risk, the Foreign Office said on Thursday.

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“Border settings and quarantine requirements in other countries continue to change,” he said.

“We strongly encourage Australians to closely monitor the Australian government’s travel advice.

“Australians will also need to consider airline requirements, transit and destination countries, as well as return arrangements to Australia when deciding when and where to travel overseas.”

Australian citizens, permanent residents and their families will be given priority to return to Australia when international travel resumes.

Mr Morrison also told Parliament that all international travelers, including tourists, could likely enter the country by the end of the year.

The most recent vaccination data shows that 87.4% of the population have received their first dose, while 74.8% are fully vaccinated.

Elsewhere, it is hoped that vaccines can soon be extended to children between the ages of five and 11 with a US panel of health advisers approving the move.

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A decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected in a few days, as studies show high rates of infection prevention, even with low doses of the vaccine in young children.

Australian regulators are also assessing the evidence before a decision is made.

Meanwhile, doctors say a new funding deal is needed to ensure the next COVID-19 vaccine booster program is properly rolled out.

Australia’s population-wide coronavirus vaccine booster program could begin in less than two weeks after the drugs regulator gives the green light.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has provisionally cleared Australians 18 and over to receive a top-up dose of Pfizer vaccine for those who were vaccinated at least six months ago.

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The Australian Immunization Technical Advisory Group is preparing advice on deployment.

Elderly care residents and people with disabilities are expected to receive a third priority jab.

But Australian Medical Association president Dr Omar Khorshid said the government should review funding arrangements for GPs involved in the recall program.

“The government will need to ensure that general medicine is adequately funded to reach patients using booster systems and assess patients as well as to administer booster injections,” he said.

There were 1,534 COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths in Victoria on Wednesday, and 304 infections in NSW, as well as three deaths.

Queensland recorded no new cases after two infections on Tuesday.

There were 10 new cases in Canberra.