Planning to travel to Australia? You will have to wait longer as the country has announced the official extension of its international travel ban into June.
Australian health minister Greg Hunt has said the country has extended its international travel ban for another three months. The ban — called the ‘human biosecurity emergency period’ — was previously set to expire on 17 March. Now, it will expire on 17 June, Hunt’s announcement said.
The country’s travel ban has been in place since March 2020. Hunt said the COVID-19 situation overseas continues to pose an unacceptable public health risk to Australia, including the emergence of more highly transmissible variants. Extending the ban will ensure the Australian Government has the powers to take any necessary measures to continue to prevent and control COVID-19, he added.
“The extension of the emergency period for a further three months is about mitigating that risk for everyone’s health and safety,” Hunt said.
Aside from extending the travel ban, Australia is also extending current emergency protocols including pre-departure testing and mask wearing for international flights; restrictions on the entry of cruise vessels within Australian territory; restrictions on outbound international travel for Australians; and restrictions on trade of retail outlets at international airports, the announcement said.
However, the restrictions and travel ban are not set on stone. Hunt said that they could be changed or appealed if the situation improves.
“In particular, the Australian Government continues to work closely with state and territory agencies, national health committees and the cruise industry to develop a framework for the staged resumption of cruise ships in a manner that is proportionate to the public health risk,” Hunt said.
According to the Australia Department of Health website, the country’s borders are closed to everyone except Australian citizens, residents, immediate family members and some travellers who have been in New Zealand — but not Auckland — for the 14 days before entering Australia.