Australia postpones border reopening until December 15

Australia has delayed the reopening of the border for two weeks until mid-December to give authorities time to analyze Omicron, a new variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

This move will delay the start of the travel bubble between Japan and South Korea, with the start from December 1st to December 15th.

“Our overwhelming view is that it’s a new variant, but a manageable variant,” said Health Minister Greg Hunt. I told reporters In Canberra on November 30th.

This was after US President Joe Biden described the new variant as “a cause of concern, not a cause of panic” on November 29. He also restricted travel from South Africa and seven other countries in the region.

According to Hunt, Australia will resume international arrivals on December 15, but medical advice is still pending.

Omicron variants carry many aberrant mutations that can make it more contagious and are currently reported in Canada, the United Kingdom, many European Union countries, Israel, and other countries outside the African Continent. I am.

The reopening schedule for Australian students and visa holders has also been postponed from two weeks to mid-December.

“We will strive to open the border as soon as possible,” said Interior Minister Karen Andrews.

“We are very aware of the impact this has on individuals, families and businesses.”

The Australian Immunization Advisory Board is considering recommending booster shots within 6 months after the second dose to help defend against mutants.

“We know it’s contagious. We don’t yet know the effectiveness of the vaccine. We don’t know the severity, but reports from South Africa are mixed,” said Chief Medical Officer. Paul Kelly says.

Five cases of Omicron mutants have been confirmed in Australian quarantine, four in New South Wales (NSW) and one in the Howard Springs Quarantine Facility in the Northern Territory.

“We are continuing our containment strategy. This is part of it. This is a temporary pause so we can get the information we need,” Kelly said.

Federal, state, and territory leaders will discuss quarantine arrangements on Tuesday afternoon after Victoria, New South Wales and ACT have ordered all international arrivals to be quarantined for 72 hours.

Australia has already temporarily suspended flights from nine countries in southern Africa, which will be extended to December 15, Hunt said.

Meanwhile, the Australian Business Council wants the COVID-19 restrictions to deal with Omicron to be consistent across states and territories.

“If we’re acting on health advice, why isn’t it consistent in each state?” CEO Jennifer Westacot told ABC Radio.

“Everyone expects this to have more mutations, more mutations. Let’s set up the system.

“It’s never too late to tackle these things, whether it’s a dedicated quarantine facility or a particular system where the industry is paying to keep things moving and boost the economy.”

Nearly 87% of Australians over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated.

The World Health Organization has warned that it will blame closed borders on countries reporting that new variants may backfire.

“We really don’t want to see that level of limitation because it really punishes [those countries]”WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told Sky News.

“It’s less comfortable about what other countries can do to help the rest of the world.”

AAP contributed to this report.

Caden Pearson


Caden Pearson is an Australian-based reporter with a background in screen writing and documentary. Contact him at [email protected]