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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks at a press confernece at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia on August 23, 2021. Photo: Rohan Thomson/Getty Images

Australia on Friday announced plans to lift its travel ban for fully vaccinated citizens starting next month.

Why it matters: The announcement comes 18 months after Australia imposed some of the world's most severe border restrictions — trapping most Australians and permanent residents in the country, and preventing thousands of others outside the island nation from returning home.

Driving the news: The new policy will enable fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents to travel abroad when 80% of the local adult population is vaccinated, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

  • Vaccinated residents returning to Australia will be required to complete a seven-day quarantine at home.
  • No date has been set for opening borders to international tourists.

What they're saying: "We’ve saved lives. We’ve saved livelihoods, but we must work together to ensure that Australians can reclaim the lives that they once had in this country," Morrison said.

  • "We’ll be working towards complete quarantine-free travel for certain countries, such as New Zealand, when it is safe to do so," Morrison said.

Go deeper: Cabin fever in "Fortress Australia" due to slow vaccination rate

Go deeper

What the initial UN Climate Summit attendance list reveals

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The UN Climate Summit set to begin Oct. 31 in Glasgow will bring an unprecedented combination of leaders for such an event (even Pope Francis!), and the likely absence of vital players — notably Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

Why it matters: The speeches and backroom meetings at COP26 between leaders on the summit's first two days will set the tone for the rest of the gathering. These will be moments when countries showcase any new pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet the Paris Agreement's targets.

Updated 23 hours ago - Health

Prime minister flags vaccine mandate for 40% of New Zealand workforce

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during an October COVID-19 briefing in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Robert Kitchin - Pool/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses, as the government pushes to reach a nationwide 90% vaccination target.

Why it matters: Under the new COVID-19 Protection Framework, businesses must require vaccine certificates from customers if they're in close contact with them. Ardern said at a briefing Tuesday that such venues wishing to operate, including hair salons, bars, restaurants and gyms, must ensure staff is vaccinated.

Updated 13 mins ago - Science

Nor'easter slams East Coast with flooding rain and powerful winds

A residential area in Middlesex County as floodwater from the nor'easter covers streets in New Jersey on Tuesday. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A monster storm was slamming the Northeast with record rainfall and powerful winds over Tuesday night — causing flash flooding that resulted in people having to be rescued in New Jersey and New York roads to close.

Threat level: All of southern New England westward to New York City and northern New Jersey was under the threat of flash flooding and coastal flooding from the nor'easter through Tuesday night into early Wednesday, per the National Weather Service.

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