The Australian Government has just announced to pause the arrivals of international students and eligible visa holders. However, these restrictions are being implemented temporarily. The Australian Government awaits information regarding the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.
The Federal Government has postponed the relaxation of international borders until the 15th of December 2021. The temporary pause will allow the government to collect more information about the new Omicron COVID-19. The Australian Government will determine whether it poses a greater threat than the Delta variant.
Key points about Omicron COVID-19
The Federal Government of Australia has highlighted the significant points to pause international arrivals.
- Australia has confirmed 5 new cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.
- The Australian borders will remain open for Australian residents.
- The Federal Government will get more details about the new Omicron variant.
Borders Open for Australian Nationals
On December 1, 2021, Australia was scheduled to reopen to international students, skilled migrants, humanitarian workers, working holiday makers, and provisional family visa holders. On Monday evening, the National Security Committee decided to put that step on hold.
It stated that;
“The temporary pause will ensure Australia can gather the information we need to better understand the Omicron variant, including the efficacy of the vaccine, the range of illness, including if it may generate more mild symptoms, and the level of transmission.”
The Australian borders are closed for overseas travelers. However, fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members can enter Australia. Likewise, fully vaccinated “green lane” travelers from New Zealand and Singapore will also be able to enter Australia.
If you’re fully vaccinated and have travel exemption then consult with our registered consultancy firm to travel to Australia!
Additionally, Japan and the Republic of Korea will not be allowed to travel until December 15, 2021. Prime Minister, Scott Morrison stated that;
“Australians can be assured that we are in a strong position to deal with COVID and its emerging challenges.”
“Australia has a proven record of dealing with COVID, we have one of the lowest fatality rates, highest vaccination rates and strongest economies in the world.
“We will continue to take sensible and responsive evidence based action, led by medical experts. This will ensure we can open safely, and stay safely open as we learn to live with the virus.”
Variant of concern
The first case of Omicron was reported to WHO by South Africa earlier this month. Scientists are trying to figure out whether the new strain poses a greater threat than Delta.
According to the World Health Organization;
“Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic.”
“The overall global risk related to the new variant is assessed as very high.”
To date, no deaths linked to Omicron had been reported, though further research was needed to assess Omicron’s potential to escape protection against immunity induced by vaccines and previous infections.
ATAGI Reviews Booster Shots
The Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, called for calm earlier on Monday. He said that Australia was “well placed” to deal with a new variant. Further, Australia’s expert immunization panel, ATAGI, has issued a statement indicating it would review COVID-19 booster shots.
Mr. Greg Hunt stated that;
“We will, as ever, allow them (ATAGI) to act independently and continue to follow their advice.”
“But we’re prepared with supplies. We are already one of the earliest nations in the world, after Israel, to have a whole-of-nation booster program.
“If they recommend changes, we will follow those changes.”
Restrictions on Southern African Nations
The Commonwealth has banned non-citizens from nine countries in Southern Africa from entering Australia. Professor Kelly advised the government to remove Seychelles from the list of concerned countries.
Australia does not allow citizens of South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, or Mozambique to enter. As a result of the new variant, New South Wales and Victoria require all international arrivals to be isolated for 72 hours. At the same time, other states mandate 14 days of managed quarantine in response to the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.
What to do now?
Australia has reported 5 cases of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant. The Australian Government has paused the international arrivals temporarily. However, it can’t afford to close the borders for a long period. As travel ban has already damaged the Australian economy.
Australian citizens and permanent residents and their immediate family members can enter Australia. Moreover, people from Singapore and New Zealand are allowed to travel to Australia. If you’ve got the travel exemption, you can also enter Australia.
It was upsetting news for international students. We hope that Australia will give us some positive news for international traveling.
- Eligible Visa Holders are Now Allowed for Exemption-Free Travel – Dec 2021
- Travel Restrictions and Exemptions to leave Australia Updated News – 2021