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Australia reopens its international border

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A returning traveller arriving on one of the first quarantine-free international flights takes a selfie at Sydney International Airport. Photo: AAP
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Fully vaccinated returning Australians can for the first time return home without having to quarantine as travel restrictions lift for parts of the country.

Victoria and New South Wales are welcoming their first quarantine-free international arrivals since Australia’s border snapped shut last year.

It comes as people in Queensland and Western Australia are urged not to be complacent about getting the jab.

Queensland has fully vaccinated 64 per cent of its over-16 population and Western Australia, 63 per cent.

Infectious disease expert Nick Coatsworth, a former deputy chief medical officer, urged people not to wait to protect themselves.

“It’s really worrying for me because there are people who are no longer with us in NSW and Victoria that didn’t have that sense of urgency,” he told the Nine Network.

“It does seem to be the case [that] COVID has to hit your community before the vaccine rates increase.”

Meanwhile, a quarantine-free travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia has been given the green light to resume.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan expects to open a similar travel bubble with Singapore in the near future.

He wants returning Australians to be prioritised, but hopes foreign workers and people on working holiday visas can be allowed in before Christmas.

On Sunday, NSW reported 177 new COVID-19 infections, the state’s lowest tally in more than three months, and one death.

Victoria recorded another 1036 cases and 12 additional deaths.

The ACT, where slightly more than 92 per cent of over-12s are double-dosed, recorded seven new cases.

Travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people going between NSW, Victoria and the ACT have been scrapped as of Monday.

-AAP