Australia approves Covishield, to reopen int’l border in Nov

Canberra: Australia’s medicine and therapeutic regulatory agency, Therapeutic Goods Administration, has reportedly advised that China’s Sinovac and India’s Covishield will be considered “recognised vaccines”, paving the way for the return of international students to the country.

It is to be noted here that Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines have previously been approved by the TGA.

In a related development, Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison today announced that the international border will reopen in November after being closed for 18 months amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Morrison, international travel to and from Australia will resume as states and territories approach 80 perc ent of the adult population fully vaccinated against Covid-19, reports Xinhua news agency.

Under the reopening plan, fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to quarantine at home for seven days on arrival in the country rather than for 14 days at hotels.

It is reliant on states and territories reaching the 80 percent vaccination milestone for their over-16s and agreeing to implement home quarantine, trials of which are currently underway in South Australia (SA) and New South Wales (NSW).

“It’s time to give Australians their lives back,” Morrison told reporters.

“We must work together to ensure that Australians can reclaim the lives that they once had in this country.”

The changes mean that fully vaccinated Australians will be able to freely leave and enter the country for the first time since March 2020.

It marks an end to international arrival caps that have left tens of thousands of Australians stranded overseas unable to secure flights home.

Morrison said the federal government would provide support to states that follow SA and NSW in implementing home quarantine.

“To maximise the number of Australians who can return, our government is also offering facilitated flights into any state or territory that agrees to commence seven-day home quarantine trials for returning Australians,” he said.

In a media release on Friday, Australian Airports Association (AAA) Chief Executive James Goodwin said airports would be ready to welcome back increasing numbers of Australians from overseas when quarantine arrangements begin to ease and passenger caps are lifted from November.

“This is just the first step to reopen Australia with work needed now on the next phase of the framework where we can welcome back international tourists and other important cohorts such as business people, students and skilled workers,” he said.

(With inputs from IANS)

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