Australia’s government has decided to extend its international travel ban until June 17, 2021, due to the rough spread of the Coronavirus disease and its new strains in other territories, the country’s Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced.
According to the Minister, the rest of the world “continues to pose an unacceptable public health risk” to Australia’s borders, VisaGuide.World reports.
On March 17, authorities in Australia imposed the travel ban in an effort to contain the further spread of the virus.
“The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee has advised the Australian Government the COVID-19 situation overseas continues to pose an unacceptable public health risk to Australia, including the emergence of more highly transmissible variants,” Australia’s Health Minister pointed out in this regard.
Under the current restrictions imposed by the country’s authorities, Australians will not be permitted to go outside the country unless absolutely necessary.
Citizens arriving in Australia from abroad will be obliged to continue with pre-departure testing and compulsory masks on flights.
Australia’s government announced that trading restrictions at retail outlets in airports will continue, while cruise ships will still be prohibited in the country.
Earlier this week, Australia’s flag carrier Qantas announced that it plans to launch a series of “Mystery Flights” in order to encourage domestic travel.
According to the announcement, the one-day trips that are planned to go on sale on March 4 will fly out of Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, departing on the following dates March 27, April 18, and May 1.
“As well as helping bring more of our people back to work, these mystery flights are another way to support tourism operators in regional areas especially, who have been hit particularly hard by several waves of travel restrictions,” Qantas Group chief customer officer Stephanie Tully pointed out.
The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented the country’s authorities from even considering easing their imposed restrictions, even though many countries worldwide are continuously seeking to reduce their imposed restrictions.
In January, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly emphasized that international borders “will be one of the last things to change,” even when the vaccine against the Coronavirus pandemic is rolled out nationwide.
Kelly stressed that international arrivals would be “the source of new cases” at the time when the countries worldwide are looking to bring the Coronavirus situation under control.
In October 2020, Australia’s government announced that temporary visa holders who cannot return to the country due to the Coronavirus pandemic restrictions would be refunded or waived from the visa application charge (VAC) during the next time they apply for a visa.
As yet, Australia has registered a total of 28,996 Coronavirus infection cases, and 909 persons have died, according to Worldometers’ statistics. Over 26,180 persons have totally recovered from the virus in Australia, as yet, while there are 1,904 active cases.