Australia’s plans to reopen its borders to certain overseas visitors have been put on hold for two weeks due to concerns about the new Omicron Covid version.
The country was set to open its doors to vaccinated skilled migrants and overseas students on December 1. However, with the discovery of Omicron, Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated that a fortnight’s postponement was “essential.”
“The essential and temporary decision to halt the next stage to securely reopen Australia to foreign skilled and student cohorts, as well as humanitarian, working holidaymaker, and provisional family visa holders from December 1 to December 15,” he added.
The reopening to Japanese and Republic of Korea travellers will likewise be stopped until December 15.
“The interim suspension will guarantee Australia can obtain the information we need to better understand the Omicron variation, including vaccination effectiveness, the range of sickness, including if it may cause more mild symptoms, and the degree of transmission,” he added.
Australia’s border is already blocked to all travellers save fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents, and direct relatives, as well as fully vaccinated green lane visitors from New Zealand and Singapore, and a few other exceptions.
All arrivals in Australia must also have a negative PCR test and fill out Australian traveler declaration papers stating their vaccination status and verifying needs to meet with state and territory public health regulations.