Australia reopens borders to non-citizens despite Omicron worries
Australia on Wednesday reopened borders to vaccinated skilled migrants and foreign students after a nearly two-year ban on their entry, in a bid to boost an economy hit by stop-start COVID-19 lockdowns and restart international travel, Reuters reports.
The emergence of the new Omicron variant forced officials to delay the reopening by two weeks after health officials sought a temporary pause to get more information about the strain, which so far appears to show milder symptoms than other COVID-19 variants.
"We’re going to live with this virus, and we’re not going to let it drag us back to where we’ve been," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told radio station 4BC on Wednesday. "We’ve got one of the highest vaccination rates, which means we can fight this thing. We don’t have to surrender to it."
Australia has inoculated nearly 90% of its population above 16 with two doses and shortened the wait time for booster shots after the emergence of the Omicron cases.
Morrison, who had been deemed a casual contact after attending an event last week along with a COVID-infected person, said he has been cleared to fly interstate to Queensland after negative test results.