Australia pauses international arrivals for students and visa holders owing to the new Omicron COVID threat!

Australia pauses international arrivals for students and visa holders owing to the new Omicron COVID threat!

Australia once again has tightened border restrictions for international students and visa holders owing to the threat posed by the new COVID variant Omicron.

Here are some salient points from the decision made:

  1. The federal government needs some time to know the nature of the new variant and how it affects the immunity of people who are already vaccinated.
  2. Australia has already reported 5 cases of Omicron COVID.
  3. The borders are however open for the Australian Nationals.

The government of Australia has said that the pause is temporary and is helpful to gather more facts about the new variant.

This decision has been made by the National Security Committee after seeking advice from the Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly.

However, Australian nationals can travel and rejoin their motherland. Earlier to this Australia had planned to reopen to international students, skilled migrants as well as humanitarian, working holiday maker and provisional family visa holders from December 1. The official immigration website of Australia states that:

"The temporary pause will ensure Australia can gather the information we need to better understand the Omicron variant, including the efficacy of the vaccine, the range of illness, including if it may generate more mild symptoms, and the level of transmission.”

The website also says that:

Australia's international border is closed to travellers except for fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family, as well as fully vaccinated "green lane" travellers from New Zealand and Singapore and limited exemptions.

The Australian government decides to pause reopening of travel with Japan and the Republic of Korea until December 15.

"Australians can be assured that we are in a strong position to deal with COVID and its emerging challenges," the Australian Prime Minister said.

"Australia has a proven record of dealing with COVID; we have one of the lowest fatality rates, highest vaccination rates and strongest economies in the world.

"We will continue to take sensible and responsive evidence based action, led by medical experts. This will ensure we can open safely, and stay safely open as we learn to live with the virus."

The new variant of COVID, Omicron, has raised concern globally, and South Africa is the first place to have reported the new variant. The scientific community posits that Omicron might be more dangerous than the Delta variant which was considered a potential threat earlier.

"Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic," the WHO said.

"The overall global risk related to the new variant assessed as very high."

Australia, however, seems to be all geared to combat the nasty variant. Australia’s health minister Mr. Greg Hunt says,

"We will, as ever, allow them (ATAGI) to act independently and continue to follow their advice. But we're prepared with supplies. We are already one of the earliest nations in the world, after Israel, to have a whole-of-nation booster program. If they recommend changes, we will follow those changes."

Non-citizens travelling from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi and Mozambique are not allowed to enter Australia.

Australians returning to New South Wales and Victoria from overseas, however, have to isolate themselves for 72 hours before they reunite with their families.

VisaMint Overseas Services with its decade’s experience is the right overseas consultant from where you can procure information about Australian Immigration. Reach out to us to know more about travel restrictions to Australia.

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