- Australians are now free to travel without a permit
- Unvaccinated travellers will still face quarantine restrictions
- There were exemptions for foreign travellers on economic grounds
Australia today recognised India's Covaxin for the purpose of travel to the country as it eased curbs on international travel. After more than 18 months of some of the world's strictest Coronavirus border policies, millions of Australians are now free to travel without a permit or the need to quarantine on arrival in the country.
"Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech, India) and BBIBP-CorV (manufactured by Sinopharm, China) vaccines would be 'recognised' for the purpose of establishing a traveller's vaccination status. This recognition is for travellers aged 12 and over who have been vaccinated with Covaxin, and those 18 to 60 who have been vaccinated with BBIBP-CorV," a media release from the Australian government said.
Today, the TGA determined that Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech, India) and BBIBP-CorV (manufactured by Sinopharm, China) vaccines would be 'recognised' for the purpose of establishing a traveller's vaccination status.— TGA Australia (@TGAgovau) November 1, 2021
Read more: https://t.co/fpQvr7FQhWpic.twitter.com/YLqIAglMQX
"This recognition means many citizens of China and India, as well as other countries in our region where these vaccines have been widely deployed, will now be considered fully vaccinated on entry to Australia. This will have significant impacts on the return of international students, and the travel of skilled and unskilled workers to Australia" the media release added.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), Australia's regulatory authority for therapeutic goods, said that it has obtained additional information demonstrating that these vaccines provide protection and potentially reduce the likelihood that an incoming traveller would transmit COVID-19 infection to others while in Australia or become acutely unwell due to COVID-19.
Earlier, the regulatory body had recommended that only the vaccines approved for use in Australia, and Covishield from India and Sinovac from China be recognised for the purposes of travel and other restrictions.
Unvaccinated travellers will still face quarantine restrictions and all travellers need proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding. Australia previously let only a limited number of citizens and permanent residents return from abroad, with a mandatory 14-day quarantine period in a hotel at their own expense
There were also some exemptions for foreign travellers on economic grounds, including, controversially, some Hollywood stars.