The Australian government has extended the ban on international travel for a further three month period. The emergency period imposed on March 18 last year is now continuing until December 17 2021 for citizens and perament residents, seeing a new course of revival of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the instructions given by the Governor-General of Australia, the extension was announced today on specialist medical and epidemiological advice and was delivered on considering the views of the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).
"We've extended biosecurity protections to December 17 in line with medical advice," said Health Minister Greg Hunt on Thursday. Hunt also announced newer travel measures that will cover both local and international travellers and strictly follow all sides of their transportation.
This will cover the pre-flight Coronavirus Testing and wearing masks for international travellers. Further along, the prohibition on travel via cruise vessels, outbound travel and retail outlets at international terminals will be carried further until new norms are regulated.
Known as the "Human Biosecurity Emergency Period", all Australian individuals were banned from traveling abroad on March 18 last year. Only government-issued exemptions were to be allowed.
But after a new wave of pandemics in the country, the AHPPC has advised that the international COVID-19 situation continues to pose an unacceptable risk to public health and should be monitored.
On Monday, New South Wales state - of which Sydney is capital - reported four new deaths and another daily record of 1,218 cases, bringing the death toll up to 1,000 deaths till now. Seeing the uprising in the recent cases, Prime Minister Scott Morrison stepped off from the country's previous zero-Covid strategy last week.
Source: Australian Health Departmenta
PM Morrison has also announced rapid vaccination and has aimed to vaccinate as many populations as possible. With the vaccination drive going through, there have also been considerations regarding the opening of interstate borders in Australia.
With the new topic, inbound and outbound travel restrictions for vaccinated people are set to be lifted when 80% of over 16s receive both of their doses. However, not all the members of the individual government bodies have agreed to open their borders once the target is met.
Agreed by the National Cabinet, the new reforms had been refused by Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan and his Queensland counterpart Annastacia Palaszczuk last week. Meanwhile, some notable names including New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian have held positive views upon the announcement and have announced that most international travellers will reach the international borders once the target is met.