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Omicron Covid variant concerns means borders may be restricted until February.

By 4 January 2022No Comments

Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced restrictions on Australia’s international borders have been extended until February 2022. The extension of the human biosecurity emergency period – which has been in place since March 2020 – allows the Commonwealth government to keep “important” COVID suppression measures in place. Mr Hunt said the extension until February 17, 2022, will assist Australia’s reopening effort and the response to the “emergence of the Omicron variant”.

Four existing emergency measures to remain in place

The extension of the biosecurity emergency period will mean the continuation of:

  1. Mandatory pre-departure testing and mask wearing for international flights
  2. Restrictions on international travel from high-risk countries
  3. Restrictions on outbound international travel for unvaccinated Australians; and
  4. Restrictions on the entry of cruise vessels within Australian territory (reviewed monthly). 

The health minister said the measures allow the government to “moderate” inbound and outbound travel, protect remote communities from localised outbreaks, reduce the risk of the spread of COVID on flights and airports and manage cases in quarantine facilities.

“As has been the case throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, these arrangements will be reviewed regularly to take into account the latest medical advice.” (Sky News) While the emergency period has been extended, the measures can be repealed or amended at any time prior to February 17.  Mr Hunt said the orders would be “continuously reviewed as a priority”. Following a meeting of the National Cabinet, the Prime Minister confirmed that border considerations will be made with a “suppression strategy” in mind.

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Pendragon Team