The European Council has removed Australia, Argentina and Canada from its travel green list – where Australia has sat 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 territorial entities and authorities for which travel restrictions should be lifted,” the EU body said in a statement.
“In particular, Argentina, Australia and Canada have been removed from the list.
“Non-essential travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed in Annex I is subject to temporary travel restrictions.”
Each EU country will now set its own rules on entry requirements, including testing and isolation.
The United States also issued a warning to “avoid travel to Australia”, ranking the country at its highest risk rating.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) moved 22 countries into its highest risk travel category for COVID-19 this week, unlike last week when it only moved two countries to the level four or “very high” risk. .
Australian Traveler Media founder Quentin Long told 9News he would expect the outlook for international travel to start to improve in April or May.
“Spontaneous trips seem to be far in the future or far in the past – so look, you have to be really organized and understand all the terms and conditions,” he said.
“Testing, when should you test? Where should you test? How to prove your test? What should you declare? What happens if you get sick?
“2022 will again be a big year for domestic travel. If I were Australian, I would be booking all my domestic travel right now.”
Argentina, which also maintained some of the toughest border controls for most of the pandemic, was among other countries to be moved to the United States’ list of Tier Four restrictions.
The CDC places a destination at level four when more than 500 cases per 100,000 population are recorded in the past 28 days. The CDC advises travelers to avoid traveling to Tier 4 countries.
The decision to reopen the quarantine-free travel bubble with New Zealand has also been pushed back to the end of next month.
While it may be more difficult to leave, it is now easier for Australians to return home.
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International arrivals no longer need a PCR test to enter Australia, but a rapid test within 24 hours of departure will be accepted.
If travelers contract COVID-19 abroad, they only have to wait seven days instead of 14 before returning home.