Australia has once again expanded its COVID-19 biosecurity measures to control who can enter and leave the country.
Measures under the Biosecurity Act, which came into effect from March 2020, will be extended until February 17.
These allow for continued mandatory COVID-19 testing for those wishing to fly to Australia, as well as wearing protective masks on international flights.
The rule also covers restrictions on international arrivals from high-risk countries, unvaccinated Australians who want to go abroad, and the management of cruise ships.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison aims to allow international students and other visa holders to return to Australia this year.
The two-week delay to reopen is expected to end on December 15, but no final decision has been made yet.
“We’re just getting a little bit of information,” Morrison told a 2GB radio following a national ministerial meeting with state and territory leaders on Friday.
He urged the prime minister and the prime minister not to close the border as the number of Omicron cases continues to increase.
Morrison’s decision to strengthen border control rather than completely closing the arrival of some interstates and Queensland’s move to reopen to people in the hotspot area on Monday Was cited as a positive sign.
“The severity of this (Omicron) virus has not been worse than what happened in Delta so far,” the Prime Minister said.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly advised the national cabinet that Australia is still in its infancy in understanding variants of Omicron.
Leaders agreed to continue to consider bordering in line with suppression strategies, revealing more evidence of Omicron’s severity, infectivity, and vaccine efficacy against it.
Infection is increasing in New South Wales. The state reported 516 new cases on Friday. This is the one with the highest number of cases per day in 2 months.
In Victoria, 1,206 infections and two more deaths were recorded per day.
ACT detected an additional 6 cases and 4 Northern Territory cases, while there were 6 locally acquired cases in Queensland.
Australia’s 16+ complete vaccination rate is 88.9 percent.
Starting January 10th, more than 2 million children between the ages of 5 and 11 will be eligible for Pfizer Shots.
The Australian Immune Advisory Board has approved the administration of Pfizer to young children at one-third the usual dose.
Jabs are placed every 8 weeks for children under the age of 12, and bookings will begin in late December.