Australians itching for a European summer holiday have been given fresh hope, with the region’s ambassador assuring free travel will resume when infection rates fall.
Last week, the European Council removed Australia from it’s “white list” – a register of countries it recommends travel restrictions be lifted.
But European Ambassador to Australia Michael Pulch reassured that list was being reconsidered regularly.
“This list is revisited … so there is an opportunity for Australia, once the infection rates do come down here, to be readmitted to that list,“ ambassador Michael Pulch told the ABC.
Australia, Canada and Argentina were all removed from the list on January 17.
Under the European Council’s criteria, restrictions on travellers from third countries can be lifted if the rate of Covid-19 infections in the past 14 days is less than 75 in 100,000.
Australia currently has 917 infections per 100k people – but that figure is decreasing.
While the listing of Australia as a “Covid-19 danger zone” could be a cause of concern, many countries within the EU region have gone against the ruling.
“Our approach has a lot of flexibility and that allows individual member states to have their national list also,” Dr Pulch said.
Cyprus, Greece and Italy have all said they will not bar non-essential travel from Australian tourists, as long as they are fully vaccinated.
But any Australians planning to buy a ticket overseas should consider getting a booster shot, with the ambassador indicating the definition of fully vaccination could be set to change.
“It’s increasingly clear that only a booster jab gives you the safety that in the former Delta period double vaccination would’ve given you,“ he said.
“That’s why we are looking at whether or not we need to redefine fully vaccinated.”