Travelling to Australia has become much easier. According to a new plan by the government that came into effect on July 6, visitors no longer have to declare their COVID-19 vaccination status. They will also not be required to obtain a travel exemption to be able to tour Down Under.
The government has also scrapped the maritime travel declarations. This means the exemptions apply to maritime crew and passengers coming by sea on cruise ships as well.
The announcement was made on July 3 by the Minister for Home Affairs of Australia, Clare O’Neil, and the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler.
Here are the new rules for travelling to Australia
Restrictions have been in place since the late 2021 when the country reopened its borders. One of the requirements before entering the country was to file the Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) that was introduced in September.
Following the advice from the Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, the government decided to make changes to the Biosecurity Act 2015, thereby removing the need for passengers to file the DPD before entering.
“The Chief Medical Officer has advised it is no longer necessary for travellers to declare their vaccine status as part of our management of COVID,” Health Minister Butler said.
The DPD, however, has been criticised for its lack of user-friendliness. O’Neil said that the government has “listened to feedback about the DPD”. She added, “While in time it will replace the paper-based incoming passenger card, it needs a lot more work to make it user-friendly.”
The home minister also said the airports are getting busier as more people travel internationally. “Removing these requirements will not only reduce delays in our airports but will encourage more visitors and skilled workers to choose Australia as a destination,” she added.
“I know anyone who has travelled internationally since the borders have opened will find this as one less thing to worry about – especially as more Australians get back to travelling overseas,” O’Neil said.
Rules travellers still need to follow
Some restrictions will remain in place for visitors to Australia.
Butler said in a statement that these restrictions include existing COVID-19 requirements of airlines and shipping operators.
Visitors will have to continue wearing masks on all inbound international flights. They will also have to obey mask mandates imposed by Australian states and territories, as well as other countries.
(Main image: Photoholgic/@photoholgic/Unsplash; Featured image: Caleb Russell/@calebrussell/Unsplash)
This story first appeared on PrestigeOnline Malaysia