Australia pauses next phase of border reopening amid fears over new Covid variant

Image caption,
A traveller gets tested for Covid after arriving in Sydney

Image caption,
A traveller gets tested for Covid after arriving in Sydney

Australia has halt moves to reopen its borders to some foreign nationals amid fears over the new Covid variant, Omicron.

The country was expected to allow vaccinated skilled immigrants and international students entry from 1 December.

Still Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a delay of a fortnight was “necessary” following Omicron’s finding.

The heavily mutated variant was noticed in South Africa earlier this month, with existing proof suggesting it has a higher re-infection risk.

It gave rise to the UK, EU and US to issue a travel ban on Southern African countries – a conclusion which has been faulted by Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s President .

Japan declared on Monday that all foreigners would be banned from entering as a result of the variant.

Australia – which has so far found five Omicron infectious diseases amid travelers coming into the country – has not made public rolling back any of the limitations it had already eased.

The country has up till not long ago had some of the severest border policies in the world, barring even its own people from leaving the country under a master plan occasionally dubbed

“Fortress Australia”.

The strategy was commended for assisting to control Covid, yet it has as well argumentatively separated families.

The plan was only alleviated in November this year, giving long-over due freedoms to vaccinated citizens and their relatives. Under the present rules, permanent residents and fully vaccinated travelers from New Zealand and Singapore are granted access into Australia.

The relaxation of rules organized for 1 December would have added completely vaccinated Japanese and South Korean citizens to the list of those who could enter, and also qualified visa holders.

Still Australia’s National Security Committee said the discontinuation was vital as it would allow them to consider issues like

“the efficacy of the vaccine”

and the effect of the variant.

Related Topics

Coronavirus pandemic,         Australia

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