As a country, Australia had been doing fairly well in its fights against COVID-19. Its leaders used a conservative approach in allowing movement, and its citizens were compliant with what was asked of them to help bring their numbers down.
In June, Australia had set out a timeline of when it would begin to allow international visitors. It would begin with a “travel bubble” with neighboring New Zealand, which had done a beautiful job of virtually eradicating the potentially deadly virus. That would be followed by opening its doors to more countries, although which ones would be chosen at a future date, depending on how they were doing in terms of virus control.
Like many countries, although visitors were still banned, their own citizens and residents returning to the country were always allowed to enter, albeit with a mandatory 14-day quarantine. That just became potentially twice as difficult and much more expensive.
Because the country has had a recent surge in coronavirus cases, Australia has decreed that the number of citizens and residents who can return home each week will be halved, from 8,000 to 4,000. All of the country’s states are in agreement with this.
As per the Sydney Morning Herald, “The new cap will see Perth receive a maximum of 525 international arrivals per week, Brisbane 500 per week, while Sydney arrivals will be capped at 450 per day. Melbourne, which is experiencing a wave of coronavirus infections linked to international arrivals, is not currently receiving international flights and that will continue.”
Australian authorities cannot legally turn away citizens at the border, so the Department of Infrastructure will tell airlines to decrease the number of flights to Australia and the number of seats available (which is a very smart but underhanded way to not have to “personally” turn citizens away).
The new quota will begin on July 13.
But wait, there’s more!
The 14-day mandatory quarantine that Australia required for all people entering the country since the virus started had been free; the government paid for it. We had written not long ago that one state had begun charging people room and board quarantined in hotels. That will now be the case for all states in Australia.
A national cabinet will work to make national pricing uniformity. Quarantine guidelines have been developed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and they will be reviewed by all involved, to ensure best practice rules. The latter is, I would think, most likely due to a breach in Victoria that involved contracted workers reportedly having sex with new arrivals who were in lockdown.
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary