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Australia drops ‘do not travel’ global advisory

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

The update to the SmartTraveller website comes ahead of the progressive lifting of international travel restrictions in four days time.

The government is also reinstating country-specific travel advice levels for 177 destinations so Australians looking to go overseas can understand the risks and access travel insurance more readily.

Australia will reach an 80 per cent double vaccination rate in a matter of days, ahead of the border reopening on November 1.

“On Monday, Australia will be taking off again as international travel restrictions are lifted,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told parliament on Wednesday.

The federal government’s global ‘do not travel’ advice has been been removed after 19 months. Image: Smartraveller.gov.au

While fully vaccinated Australians will be able to depart without an exemption, all travellers needed to be aware COVID remained an ongoing global health risk, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday.

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

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

“Australians will also need to consider the requirements of airlines, transit and destination countries, as well as return arrangements to Australia in making decisions on when and where to travel abroad.”

Australian citizens, permanent residents and their families will be prioritised to travel back to Australia when international travel restarts.

Mr Morrison also told parliament all international travellers, including tourists, would likely be able to come into the country by the end of the year.

The most recent vaccination data shows 87.4 per cent of the population have had their first dose, while 74.8 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Elsewhere, there are hopes vaccines can soon be extended to children aged between five and 11 with a US panel of health advisers endorsing the move.

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

Australian regulators are also weighing up evidence ahead of a decision.

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

Australia’s population-wide coronavirus vaccine booster shot program could start in less than two weeks after the medicines regulator gave the green light.

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

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is preparing advice on the rollout.

Aged-care residents and people with disabilities are expected to receive third jabs as a priority.

But Australian Medical Association president Dr Omar Khorshid said the government would need to review funding arrangements for GPs involved in the booster program.

“The government will need to ensure general practice is properly funded to reach out to patients using recall systems and assess patients as well as administer booster shots,” he said.

There were 1534 COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths in Victoria on Wednesday, and 304 infections in NSW, along with three deaths.

Queensland registered no new cases after two infections on Tuesday.

There were 10 new cases in Canberra.



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