Australia reopening to certain kinds of travelers after nearly two years of closed borders.

Since March 2020, Australia has been closed to foreign travel, and has only recently allowed citizens and permanent residents to come and go. While the strict measures have done a decent job of keeping the pandemic to a minimum in the country, the trade-off has been economic hits and a labor shortage.

Foreign students bring around $25 billion in USD to the Australian economy each year, and fill tens of thousands of casual jobs. Prior to the pandemic, official data showed that over 235,000 visa-holders lived and worked in Australia, including 160,000 students. During the pandemic, no new visas were issued and non-residents who left Australia were not allowed to return.

“We’re going to live with this virus, and we’re not going to let it drag us back to where we’ve been,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told radio station 4BC on Wednesday, the day of Australia reopening. “We’ve got one of the highest vaccination rates, which means we can fight this thing. We don’t have to surrender to it.”

Almost 90 percent of the adult population of Australia is vaccinated, and booster shots are being given out as swiftly as supply allows. Australia is currently experiencing an omicron-driven uptick in new cases, but they have moved along as planned with the reopening.

The reopening currently applies to foreign students and skilled migrants. Entrants must be vaccinated, and anyone who comes into contact with a confirmed case is required to submit to testing and possibly quarantine.

Even Morrison is subject to the rules. Last week, he was confirmed to have attended an event along with someone who later tested positive. He had to reschedule plans to wait for the results of two negative test results.

“That’s what living with the virus is,” he said.

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