In not so shocking news, Australia’s international travel ban will extend until June 17, heading towards a whopping fifteen months of closure since the beginning of the pandemic.
Don’t pack your budgie-smugglers just yet, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced on Tuesday evening that the “human biosecurity emergency period,” which stops travellers from entering Australia and keeps Aussies Down Under, has been extended.
The news is a blow to almost 40,000 citizens who are stranded overseas. The new Qantas ad might as well be, “I still call Australia home… via Skype.”
The international travel ban was due to end on March 17, one year after it was put in place. However, like a lot of our plans for this year, that has now changed.
“The extension of the emergency period is informed by specialist medical and epidemiological advice provided by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer,” Hunt said in a statement.
“The AHPPC has advised the Australian government the COVID-19 situation overseas continues to pose an unacceptable public health risk to Australia, including the emergence of more highly transmissible variants.”
Australia extends its international border ban to June 2021, meaning 15 months of bans on citizens leaving, caps on the number of citizens permitted to enter their own country as well as banning foreigners from entering.*
*unless they are famous and rich. pic.twitter.com/pGaJQEpkXr
— Latika M Bourke (@latikambourke) March 2, 2021
Ryan Sims, an Aussie trying to get home to Brisbane from Poland, told SBS News, “The real frustration is with the Australian government. We are a year into the pandemic and people are still saying they can’t find places for Australians to come home.”
Yes, Australian residents can come home, but only after completing a two-week hotel quarantine at their own expense. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that, as of last month, more than 211,000 people have returned to Australia via the hotel quarantine system. Meanwhile…
There’s 1000s of Victorians still stuck in Sydney & Brisbane due to border madness, yet there’s 1200 tennis players jetting into Melbourne from countries with plenty of covid cases. Yet again money talks. Stuff the honest, hard-working taxpayer. They can wait. #covid19vic 😷🧐
— Sophie Elsworth (@sophieelsworth) January 12, 2021
It looks like a staycation is on the cards for the next few months.