It's been more than two years since Australia shut its borders in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19, and while our borders have since reopened to international visitors, entry has required proof of vaccination or a valid medical exemption. But from 12.01am on Wednesday, July 6, this requirement will be scrapped and incoming arrivals need only wear a mask and comply with state-based Covid-19 rules.
The change follows a statement on Sunday, July 3 by federal health minister Mark Butler, who says the decision was based on advice from chief medical officer Paul Kelly. "[Kelly] has advised it is no longer necessary for travellers to declare their vaccine status as part of our management of COVID," says Butler. "Unvaccinated Australians, as well as certain groups of visa holders, have been able to travel to Australia for some time."
According to the most recent data by the Department of Health, there are currently nearly 250,000 active Covid-19 cases across the nation, of which 8,242 were acquired and reported within the last 24 hours. More than 3,000 people are currently hospitalised, more than 100 are in the ICU and 27 are currently ventilated — and over the course of Covid-19's spread in Australia, nearly 10,000 people have died.
While these numbers do seem quite high, Butler states that the government only makes decisions on Covid-related issues after considering the latest medical advice. Butler also implores Australians to get any remaining booster shots as well as the influenza vaccine. "It can take up to two weeks for the flu and Covid-19 vaccines to provide maximum protection, so it is important you don't delay making any vaccination appointment."