The prime minister stated Tuesday that foreign tourists will not be welcome back to Australia until at most next year. He also outlined plans to lift some of the longest and most restrictive COVID-19 travel restrictions any democracy has imposed.
After it meets Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s benchmark for reopening external borders, the country will prioritise the return of skilled migrants as well as students. This is the full vaccination of 80% or more of the population 16 years and older. This is expected to happen Tuesday.
This news comes days after Morrison announced plans for permanent residents and citizens vaccinated to fly out of November, the first time since March 2020.
Due to severe travel restrictions that have kept most Australians in Australia and most foreigners out, there has been a decline in immigration levels since World War II. Australian universities are heavily dependent on international students paying fees. Many fear that students will leave to find work elsewhere.
Many countries had to impose tight lockdowns, which shut down large parts of their economies. However, Australia’s travel restrictions kept life relatively normal during the pandemic. It is currently experiencing shutdowns in Sydney and Melbourne as well as Canberra.
These rules placed a heavy emotional burden on a country where at least half of the population was either born abroad or had one parent who immigrated. Separation of families was done, and grandparents were barred from visiting grandchildren in Australia. Grandchildren are approaching two years old.
Morrison stated that skilled migrants and international students would be Morrison’s priority after lifting restrictions on Australians. He didn’t specify when these groups would be permitted in.
Morrison stated, “We will also get to international visitors next year,”
The Australian Tourism Export Council represents a sector that earned 45 billion Australian dollars ($33 million) per year from international tourists prior to the pandemic. It wants international visitors back by March.
The ban on international travel has caused significant disruption to Australian tourism operators.
Daniel Gschwind is the chief executive of Queensland Tourism Industry Council. This advocacy group represents the state’s top tourism advocates. We’d love to see the process, even if they aren’t the top priority. Many businesses are still hanging on.”
Gschwind stated that his sector must plan for how COVID-19 risks can be managed. This could include self-isolation and rapid testing.
There are some exceptions to Australia’s travel ban. Tourism has never been allowed to cross the border. The two-week quarantine period for those who are allowed to enter Australia is for anyone who has not been granted entry. If it is not removed, this would be a significant obstacle.
Morrison stated last week that his government would pursue “completely quarantine-free travel for certain nations, such as New Zealand,” but he did not provide any details.
Australia and New Zealand shared briefly a quarantine-free travel bubble during COVID-19 free countries.
After an outbreak of highly contagious delta variant in Australia, authorities in New Zealand lost control and quarantine was reintroduced after a U.S. crew brought it to Sydney.
Many countries, including New Zealand, were previously able to keep the virus away with strict travel regulations. But the delta variant has made a significant impact on the game. The government of that country acknowledged Monday that it cannot eliminate the coronavirus completely.
Australia continues to fight outbreaks and is also working hard to inoculate its people. Although initially slow, the pace of vaccination has increased.
On Tuesday, Victoria reported a national record 1,763 local infections. The second-most populous Australian state also reported four deaths from COVID-19.
New South Wales set the previous national record for 1,599 infections per 24 hours. It was established when New South Wales’s outbreak peaked on September 10. In mid-September, hospitalizations reached their peak in Australia’s most populous country.
New South Wales is leading the way in terms of vaccination rates, and Sydney’s airport will be the first to open to vaccinated travellers.