Fully vaccinated Australians free to travel overseas from November, COVID booster dose approved
Canberra/UNI/Xinhua: Most Australians will be able to freely leave the country from November, the government has announced.
The federal government on Tuesday night changed the Human Biosecurity Determination -- a law created in March 2020 to restrict international travel during the coronavirus pandemic to remove the need for fully vaccinated Australians to ask for permission to leave the country.
It means that from November 1, Australians who have received two coronavirus vaccine doses will be able to freely leave the country for the first time since March 2020.
Greg Hunt, Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care, said it was the first stage in Australia's reopening to the world.
"Australian citizens and permanent residents who want to travel overseas will need to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration -- approved or recognized vaccine, with the second dose occurring at least seven days prior to travel," he said on Wednesday in Canberra.
People who have not been vaccinated will still have to apply with the Department of Home Affairs to leave the country and face stricter quarantine protocols on their return.
On Wednesday morning, Australia reported more than 1,800 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases and 16 deaths as the country continues to battle the third wave of infections.
The majority of new cases were in Victoria, the country's second-most populous state with Melbourne as the capital city, where 1,534 cases and 13 deaths were reported.
As of Tuesday, more than 74 per cent of Australians aged 16 and over were fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the Department of Health.
On Wednesday the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine for individuals 18 years and older, six months after their second dose.
Subject to the final advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), it is expected that a general population booster program will commence no later than November 8 with original priority groups, including people in aged care and disability care settings, to be offered the option to receive a booster as a priority, according to Hunt.