The Australian Federal Government has extended the ban on international travel by a further three months, which means the ban will be in place until at least June 17th.
The announcement means that the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine for returned travellers will likely remain in place for the rest of 2021.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said that the extension of the “human biosecurity emergency period” was based on medical and epidemiological advice provided by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.
“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,” he said.
“The extension of the emergency period for a further three months is about mitigating that risk for everyone’s health and safety.”
Opposition’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong called on the government to take responsibility for the border closures.
“When Scott Morrison closed the borders he had no plan for the consequences,” she said to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“A year later, 40,000 Australians are still stranded overseas, the border closure has been extended and there’s still no plan for safe, national quarantine.”
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox called for “certainty” on the international borders “as soon as possible”.
“We are a migrant nation. Our skilled migrants have been a huge driver of our economy,” he said. “Without migration – and the certainty around it – we are diminished economically and culturally.”