Covid news live: Austria enters nationwide lockdown; Australia eases international border restrictions





Kenya to introduce Covid passport for end of December, plans mass vaccination campaign



Australia to let in vaccinated visa holders, not tourists

After being shut out since early last year, a range of international visa holders will be able to access exemption-free travel to Australia from 1 December – but there’s still no decision about tourists.

Travel exemptions will no longer be required for fully vaccinated eligible visa holders – including students, skilled workers, and those on humanitarian, working holiday and family visas – for the first time since borders closed in early 2020.

A travel bubble operating for Singapore will also extend to Japan and South Korea, allowing quarantine-free travel for these citizens, including tourists, subject to a negative Covid test before departure.

Government figures show that there are about 235,000 eligible visa holders who would be free to travel to Australia under the eased restrictions, including 162,000 international students.

Read the full story here.

1,000 flights between Australia and New Zealand cancelled

Air New Zealand has cancelled about 1,000 flights between New Zealand and Australia, citing “continued border uncertainty” between the two countries.

The announcement will scuttle the plans of some New Zealanders and Australians who had hoped to be reunited for Christmas.

The airline said about 20,000 customers would be affected. The flights cancelled fall between now and the end of December – while the airline’s flight schedule beyond then remains in place, it’s not clear whether more flights may be cancelled down the line.

“This will be particularly tough news for families and friends who were hoping to catch up over Christmas … But our hands are tied until border restrictions ease, and we receive further clarity from the New Zealand government,” Air New Zealand’s chief customer and sales officer, Leanne Geraghty, said in a written statement.

The trans-Tasman bubble, which allowed for quarantine-free travel between the two countries, shut in July in response to a Covid outbreak in Australia. It has remained closed since New Zealand began struggling to contain its own outbreak in August.


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