In a move that is sure to spark a lot of controversy among the Australian public, their government has announced a ban on all refugees from a number of countries. This includes people fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and some other countries. This ban is set to expire on 31 December, but will be extended until further notice. Many people are opposed to this ban, as it is perceived as Australia not doing its part to help those fleeing from persecution. Although some people feel Australia should be doing more to help those fleeing from war and persecution, there are others who feel that Australia is being too generous.
Australia’s Foreign Travel Ban Is Extended Into December
Australia’s ban on non-essential travel to some countries has been extended until December 18th. Visas have been automatically cancelled for those subject to the travel ban. The ban has been criticised as an over-reaction, as the countries that have been singled out as a threat to Australia’s national security are all Muslim-majority nations. The ban is a form of “pre-emptive” security – a reaction to the growing fear of terrorism taking over the world – and a move that will make Australia more isolated internationally.
Australia stated today that it would prolong its prohibition on foreign travel, both inbound and outgoing, until mid-December, when it hopes to have vaccinated 80 percent of its adult population.
The “human biosecurity emergency period,” which was supposed to end on September 17, has been extended until December 17. According to The Telegraph, Australian health minister Greg Hunt said that the move was made “in accordance with medical advice.”
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Those who had wished to visit loved ones in Australia, as well as Ozzies wanting to visit relatives or friends in other countries, now have little chance of doing so before the end of the year. Perhaps most importantly, the government’s decision to postpone has cast uncertainty on travel plans for Christmas and New Year’s.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, Australians have been unable to travel abroad (with few exceptions), and the country’s borders have remained closed to all but a few adjacent countries (with which ‘travel bubbles’ have been created) throughout the pandemic.
While Australia’s strict border restrictions have reduced COVID-19 infections and fatalities to a bare minimum—around 56,000 cases and slightly over 1,000 deaths so far—vaccination rates have fallen short. Only 28.85 percent of the population is completely vaccinated at the time of publishing, according to Johns Hopkins statistics.
For more than two months, Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, has been the hub of the country’s third COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the extremely infectious Delta strain. This new epidemic, according to Reuters, has “revealed vulnerabilities in the country’s vaccination rollout and put more than half of the country’s 25 million inhabitants into lockdown.”
NSW plans to remove local lockdowns after 70% of adult people have been properly vaccinated, which it hopes to accomplish by mid-October. However, the timing remains unclear.
On Sydney Harbour in New South Wales, Australia, stands the iconic Sydney Opera House. (Collette provided the picture)
According to La Prensa Latina, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian acknowledged on Wednesday that already-high hospitalization rates are expected to increase in October, but said, “At 80% double-dose vaccination, we can look forward to foreign travel, and that is the plan that we all signed up to.”
When 80 percent of eligible Australians have been completely vaccinated, restrictions on international travel will be removed. Only last week, Oz authorities said that the country was on pace to meet its vaccine target by December, with foreign flights to low-risk nations expected to resume by the middle of the month. Qantas, Australia’s flag airline, has already begun providing flights to Los Angeles, Singapore, and Vancouver, which will begin on December 18.
However, even after the vaccine barrier has been met, Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk are allegedly unwilling to commit to reopening their states’ borders.
After a few weeks of confusion, a new travel ban has been put into place. The ban affects people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, and it extends for 90 days from the previous 90 day ban that was introduced in March.. Read more about australia travel ban 2021 and let us know what you think.
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