Last fortnight, after a meeting with cruise lines and NSW government officials looked set to result in permission to sail as early as next February for local waters.

Now, with the sudden concerns over Omicron and the world’s response could mean health officials will delay all announcements about cruising in NSW. It had been expected that an early announcement on the Biosecurity Act ban on foreign flagged vessels, which expires on December 17, would allow homeported fleets like those of Princess, P&O and Carnival could be back. There is widespread support from NSW and Federal Government and the move may still eventuate.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has revealed there is a confirmed two cases and a “possible” third of the new strain in NSW. As a result, NSW, the ACT and Victoria are now requiring all overseas arrivals to get tested and isolate for 72 hours and South Australia is now requiring all international arrivals to do a full two weeks of quarantine. At a Federal level, Australia has closed its borders and suspended flights to nine Southern African countries, including South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

Countries across the world including the US, European Union, Brazil, Canada and more have placed restrictions on those entering from Southern African countries, while these are unlikely to affect Australian travellers, they more so serve as reminders to how quickly you can get shut out. Some countries have taken even more drastic actions, with Israel completely shutting down borders to all non-citizens and Morocco suspending all incoming flights for the next fortnight. Many travel insurance policies at the moment are not covering for border closures, highlighting an importance to be aware of what your insurance covers.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he is planning on calling a meeting of state and territory leaders to discuss the nation’s response to the Omicron variant and has said he is not yet willing to make decisions about whether quarantine could be reinstated before Christmas.

Mr Morrison said: “We have had many new variants, we have had many variants of concern.” “This is another variant of concern and it is one that the initial information is suggesting some [increased] transmissibility but even that, as yet, is not fully proven. So it is important we just calmly and carefully consider this information.” “National Cabinet will come together over the next couple of days and a key purpose of that is to ensure we are all working off the same information.”

Image: Shutterstock

This article first appeared on Over60.