Travel column with Katie Butler: Australia has reopened its international border for the first time in nearly two years

WELCOME: Australia has re-opened its borders to fully-vaccinated passengers. Photo: Getty ImagesWELCOME: Australia has re-opened its borders to fully-vaccinated passengers. Photo: Getty Images
WELCOME: Australia has re-opened its borders to fully-vaccinated passengers. Photo: Getty Images
It was emotional this week to see international flights arriving in Australia as the country finally opened its borders to fully-vaccinated passengers.

Katie Butler writes: A total of 56 international flights arrived in Australia on Monday for the first time in almost two years.

Travellers can enter all states apart from Western Australia, which remains closed until March 3.

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To celebrate the return of overseas tourists, Australia rolled out the welcome mat and special events were scheduled throughout the day.

The first visitors in Sydney were greeted with toy koalas, kangaroos, Vegemite and a DJ played Australia’s favourite tunes.

Of course more importantly, and after almost two years apart, family members were able to see one another and re-unite with loved ones. For many it was a case of seeing new grandchildren in real life for the first time since they were born.

Do I need a booster jab to travel to Europe in the summer?

If you are due to travel to Europe and the Med this summer and are double-vaccinated, it is likely for most destinations that you will need to have had your booster. This will depend on how long ago you had your second vaccination.

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Boosters are required if you are due to travel and your second vaccination was over 270 days (approximately nine months).

At present this applies to Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Greece.

However, to enter public places in different destinations the timescales may vary so always check the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) advice.

Boosters are not yet required to enter the US and Turkey but again this could change.

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I am due to travel to Tenerife and I have heard they are on level four, what does this mean?

Level four is the highest mark in the Spanish government’s coronavirus system. It means people can not meet in groups larger than six, bars must close by midnight and vaccine passes may be required to gain entry into some indoor venues.

With UK Covid restrictions becoming less and less, will I still need to wear a mask on a plane?

We expect that the requirements to wear a mask onboard a plane will continue for the foreseeable future and to comply with the regulations of other countries.

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The speculation continues around the simplification of the inbound Passenger Locater Form. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is reportedly pushing for it to be scrapped altogether. Currently all arrivals must complete the PLF form within 48 hours of arriving in the UK. The form runs to 20 pages for fully-vaccinated passengers.