Australia: foreign travel ban extends till December
Australia stated today that it will prolong its prohibition on international incoming and outgoing travel until mid-December when it hopes to have vaccinated 80 percent of its adult population.
The “human biosecurity emergency period” was supposed to end on September 17, but it has been extended until December 17. According to The Telegraph, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt stated that the measure was conducted “in accordance with medical advice.”
Those who have been longing to visit loved ones in Australia, as well as Australians who had hoped to visit family or friends in other countries, now have little hope of doing so before the end of the year. Perhaps most importantly, the government’s decision to postpone has put the possibility of Christmas and New Year’s travel in jeopardy.
Since COVID-19 took hold in early 2020 (with rare exception), Australians have been unable to travel overseas, and the country’s borders have remained closed to all but a few of neighboring nations (with which ‘travel bubbles’ have been constructed) throughout the outbreak.
While Australia’s austere border controls have limited COVID-19 infections and deaths to a bare minimum (about 56,000 cases and a little over 1,000 deaths so far), vaccination rates have fallen short. At the time of publication, only 28.85 percent of the population was fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins data.
For more than two months, Sydney, New South Wales (NSW), has been the heart of the nation’s third COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the extremely contagious Delta variety. According to Reuters, the current outbreak has “exposed weaknesses in the country’s vaccine rollout and pushed more than half of the country’s 25 million people into lockdown.”
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