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Covid-19: Australian border reopening delayed amid Omicron concerns

By Jasleen Kaur -- November 29, 2021 6:20 pm -- Updated:November 29, 2021 6:30 pm

The Australian government has delayed the reopening of the country's borders amid concerns over the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Monday that the National Security Committee (NSC) has pushed the planned easing of border restrictions for international students and visa holders back from December 1 to December 15.

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Australia Halts Border Reopening Over New Covid Variant Omicron Fears Easing of border restrictions for international students and visa holders has been pushed back from December 1 to December 15. Photo: Social media

The decision was made based on advice from Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Paul Kelly to the NSC that more time was needed to evaluate whether Omicron poses a greater threat than the Delta variant of Covid-19.

"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," said a joint statement by Morrison with cabinet ministers.

"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."

Australia international border closures: Should we adopt the UK's 'traffic light' approach to arrivals? Australia's border was due to open to visa holders for the first time since March 2020. Photo: Social media

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Australia's border was due to open to visa holders for the first time since March 2020, paving the way for migrants to enter the country and restart the lucrative international education market. The reopening of travel from Japan and South Korea has also been delayed until December 15.

Australia sticks by plan to re-open border in mid-2022 | Reuters The reopening of travel from Japan and South Korea has also been delayed until December 15. Photo: Social media

Fully vaccinated Australian citizens and residents will still be able to enter the country subject to quarantine requirements in the state or territory in which they arrive.
As of Monday Australia has confirmed five cases of the variant.

-PTC News

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