Most Australians will be happy to learn that their country will not be subject to a three-month ban on foreign visitors from the Middle East and North Africa. The government’s new visa rules will come into force on December 19, meaning that people from the countries affected by the travel ban will be allowed into the country for a further three months.
Australia’s travel ban, one of the most controversial pieces of foreign policy in recent history, is set to be extended into November 2017. The controversial ban, which prevents all non-citizen Australians from entering the country, was first brought into effect in 2015, with the Australian government stating that the ban was necessary to stop the rise of ‘climate change refugees’. The ban was challenged by the country’s largest refugee rights organisation the Human Rights Law Centre (HRC), who argued that the ban violated Australia’s human rights obligations . On the other side of the argument were those who claimed that the ban was necessary to stop the rise of ‘climate change refugees’.
The ban on non-essential travel to the United States will remain in place until further notice. This is a response to President Trump’s Executive Order imposing restrictions on immigration and visas from seven countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, banning visitors from those countries from entering the United States for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.
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 massive public outcry, Australia’s immigration minister, Peter Dutton, has extended his country’s travel ban on refugees and citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries for an additional three months. Although the ban was originally slated to end on 30 November, Dutton announced over the weekend the ban would be extended indefinitely.. Read more about australia travel ban 2021 and let us know what you think.
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