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Australia to reopen borders to vaccinated tourists from Feb 21

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Australia will open its borders to all vaccinated tourists and business travellers from February 21 in a further relaxation of pandemic restrictions announced Monday.

Australia imposed some of the world’s toughest travel restrictions on its citizens and permanent residents in March 2020 to prevent them from bringing Covid-19 home.

When the border restrictions were relaxed in November in response to an increasing vaccination rate among the Australian population, international students and skilled migrants were prioritised over tourists in being welcomed back to Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his senior ministers agreed on Monday that the border would reopen to all vaccinated visa holders from February 21. He referred to Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic being deported by the Australian government last month because he was not vaccinated against Covid.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said visitors who could provide proof of a medical reason why they could not be vaccinated could apply for a travel exemption. — AP

China locks down city of 3.6 million

Beijing: The authorities in China’s southwestern city of Baise, which has a population of 3.6 million, ordered residents to stay at home from Monday and avoid unnecessary travel as they enforced curbs that are among the toughest in the nation’s tool-box to fight rising local infections of Covid-19. PTI


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