The European Council has removed Australia, Argentina and Canada from the green travel list – where Australia has been sitting comfortably for most of the pandemic – meaning restrictions on non-essential travel.
“The council has updated the list of countries, special administrative regions and other entities and territorial authorities for which travel restrictions should be lifted,” the EU body said in a statement.
Argentina, Australia and Canada in particular have been removed from the list.
“Non-essential travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed in Annex I are subject to temporary travel restrictions.”
Each EU country will now make its own rules on entry requirements, including testing and isolation.
The United States has also issued a warning to “avoid travel to Australia”, listing the country with the highest risk rating.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) placed a whopping 22 countries in the travel category with the highest risk for COVID-19 this week, unlike last week when it only moved two countries to level four or “very high.” risk moved.
Quentin Long, the founder of Australian Traveler Media, told 9News he would expect the international travel outlook to improve in April or May.
“Spontaneous travel seems far away in the future or far away in the past — so look, you have to be really organized and understand all the terms,” he said.
“Tests, when should you test? Where should you test? How do you prove your test? What do you have to report? What happens if you do get sick?
“In 2022 it will be another big domestic travel year. If I were Australians, I would book all my domestic trips now.”
Argentina, which has also maintained some of the strictest border controls during most of the pandemic, was among the other countries to be moved to the US list of level four restrictions.
The CDC places a level four destination when more than 500 cases per 100,000 population have been registered in the past 28 days. The CDC advises travelers to avoid traveling to Level 4 countries.
A decision on reopening the quarantine-free travel bubble with New Zealand has also been postponed until the end of next month.
While it may be harder to get away, it is now easier for Australians to get home.
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International arrivals no longer require a PCR test to enter Australia, instead a rapid test within 24 hours of departure is accepted.
When travelers abroad contract COVID-19, they only have to wait seven days instead of 14 before flying home.