Australia Delays Reopening Borders

Australia Delays Reopening Borders

The Australian government announced that it will extend its ban on inbound and outbound international travel until mid-December, by which time it aims to have vaccinated 80% of its adult population.

This means that most people will not be able to enter Australia without a travel exemption. Australian citizens and permanent residents also need to secure travel exemption to leave Australia until December.

The “human biosecurity emergency period” was previously set to expire on 17 September but will now continue until 17 December

Those who have been anticipating visiting loved ones Down Under, as well as those who were hoping to soon visit family or friends overseas, now hold little hope of doing so before the year is out. 

Australians have been unable to travel abroad since COVID-19 took hold in early 2020 and the country’s borders have remained sealed to all but a handful of neighbouring nations throughout the pandemic.

Australia’s COVID-19 Situation

The COVID-19 situation in Australia is rapidly changing. Until recently, Australia had the virus under control. However, the Delta variant managed to escape hotel quarantine in Sydney and spread through the city. 

Sydney has been under a strict lockdown for the past two months and will continue until the vaccination rates increase throughout the city. However, the debate around pursuing a zero-COVID strategy in Australia continues to rage. 

Australia’s Reopening 

Many people hoped that Australia would reopen before the Christmas period, and that’s still possible. According to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Australia will resume international travel when vaccination levels reach 80%. 

When you reach 70%, the advice is you have built up a much more significant level of protection which enables the usual settings and levers that we have to deal with an outbreak, particularly Delta, are able to be more effective.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

While Australia’s strict border policies have kept its COVID-19 numbers relatively low, its vaccination rates have left something to be desired. Australia’s current vaccination rate is far behind the rest of the Western world. According to Johns Hopkins’ data, only 28.85% of the population is already fully vaccinated.

The government has increased vaccination rates in the previous two months as Australia tries to prevent locking down for the rest of 2021. Yet, many state leaders in Australia are reluctant to end the zero-COVID policy and hesitant around reopening and living with the virus.

What are your thoughts on the extended overseas travel restriction? Talk to us in the comment section below.

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