Australia re-opens to international travelers after two-year COVID-19 closure

Passengers arrive at Sydney International Airport on November 28, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)
Passengers arrive at Sydney International Airport on November 28, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Getty Images)

Australia opens its international borders to all vaccinated tourists Monday, nearly two years after the island nation first imposed some of the world’s strictest COVID-19 travel restrictions.

“The wait is over,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said during a press conference on Sunday ahead of the re-opening.

“Pack your bags,” he told potential visitors, adding, “Don’t forget to bring your money with you, because you’ll find plenty of places to spend it.”

The first flight into Sydney Airport will arrive from Los Angeles at 6 am (1900 GMT), followed by arrivals from Tokyo, Vancouver and Singapore.

Only 56 international flights are expected to land in Australia in the 24 hours after the re-opening — far below pre-pandemic levels — but Morrison said he had “no doubt” the number will scale up in time.