Canberra: Australia reported more than 15,000 new Covid-19 cases and 33 deaths on Sunday February 20, one day before the country’s borders reopen to fully vaccinated tourists almost after two years since the onset of the pandemic.
From Monday February 21, Australia’s strict border restrictions will ease, allowing international tourists to enter the country for the first time since March 2020, reports Xinhua news agency.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, tourism was worth about A$60 billion ($43 billion) a year to the Australian economy, employing more than 650,000 people.
The industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, with international visitor numbers falling by about 99 per cent.
More than 50 international flights are expected to land in Australia within 24 hours of the border reopening.
International arrivals will have to prove that they are either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a valid medical exemption.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday the number of arrivals would increase as a result of a A$40 million Tourism Australia advertising campaign.
“I know the tourism industry has been getting ready. I know the airlines have been getting ready. So all the readiness puts us in a strong position to go forward from tomorrow,” he said.