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Australians may not be able to travel without quarantine to Europe even if they are fully vaccinated, with both the European Council and the United States issuing warnings about the severity of the Omicron wave down under.

On 17 January, the European Council removed Australia, Canada and Argentina from the “white list”, the list of countries for which restrictions on non-essential travel should be listed.

One day later, on 18 January, the United States updated its travel advice for Australia to “do not travel” after the Centre for Disease Control issued a level four travel health notice for Australia due to “a very high level of COVID-19 in the country”.

That was about a week after reported case numbers peaked at more than 100,000 on 8 January.

The European Council list is reviewed every two weeks, so if Australia’s case numbers continue to fall it could be reinstated as early as next week.

The recommendation is not legally binding, and countries can set their own border restrictions. Italy, Greece and Cyprus have already ignored the ruling. Many European countries are also experiencing a large number of Covid cases, including France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Denmark.

The European Council recommended that states gradually lift their travel restrictions for people coming from New Zealand, Indonesia, South Korea, Bahrain, Chile, Colombia, Kuwait, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Uruguay, and China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity

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