Travel column with Kathy Butler: Australia reopens its international border for the first time in nearly two years

WELCOME: Australia has reopened its borders to fully vaccinated passengers. Photo: Getty Images

Kathy Butler writes: On Monday, 56 international flights arrived in Australia for the first time in nearly two years.

To celebrate the return of foreign tourists, Australia has rolled out a welcome rug and special events have been planned throughout the day.

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The first visitors to Sydney were greeted by toy koalas, kangaroos, Vegemite, and a DJ played favorite Australian tunes.

Of course, more importantly, after almost two years of separation, family members were able to see and reunite with loved ones. For many, it was an occasion to see new grandchildren in real life for the first time since their birth.

Do I need a vaccination to travel to Europe in the summer?

If you are planning to travel to Europe and the Mediterranean this summer and are double vaccinated, chances are you will need a second shot for most destinations. This will depend on how long ago you had your second shot.

Revaccinations are required if you are traveling and your second vaccination was more than 270 days old (approximately nine months).

This currently applies to Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Greece.

However, times may vary for entry to public areas in different locations, so always check the recommendations of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCDO).

Boosters are not yet required to enter the US and Turkey, but again this may change.

I have to go to Tenerife and I heard that they are on the fourth level, what does that mean?

The fourth level is the highest rating in the Spanish government’s system for combating coronavirus. This means people cannot gather in groups of more than six people, bars must close by midnight, and vaccination passes may be required to enter some enclosed spaces.

As the Covid restrictions in the UK become less and less, will I still need to wear a mask on the plane?

We expect that the requirement to wear a mask on board aircraft will continue for the foreseeable future and will be in line with other countries’ regulations.

Rumors continue to simplify the form of determining the location of an incoming passenger. Transportation Minister Grant Shapps is reportedly pushing for it to be phased out entirely. Currently, all arrivals must complete a PLF form within 48 hours of arriving in the UK. The form is up to 20 pages long for fully vaccinated passengers.

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