In what has come as a respite for many Indians, the Australian government is all set to reopen its borders amidst rising concerns about COVID-19’s Omicron strain. By Karan Kaushik
There’s a piece of good news for those of you who have been trying to travel to Australia for a while now. The Australian government has decided to reopen its international borders for foreign students and skilled workers.
What you need to know as Australia reopens its borders
The move comes amidst rising concerns about COVID-19’s Omicron variant. According to a news report published in Daily Mail, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed the reopening stating that Omicron is not a matter of concern for Australian officials.
Hunt added that the new variant is milder than the Delta strain, maintaining that there was enough evidence to prove that two doses of vaccination against COVID-19 are sufficient to fight severe illness and death.
“The strong, clear evidence is that all of the vaccines continue to provide very clear coverage against serious illness, hospitalisation and loss of life,” Hunt was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
Australia will be reopening its borders for students on December 15. Earlier, Australia was all ready to welcome students and workers from December 1 but the authorities decided to postpone the reopening by two weeks in wake of the rising cases of the new strain.
Health Min. @GregHuntMP confirms international borders will reopen to skilled migrants on Dec 15 as planned. Today he’s announcing telehealth to be permanently available for appointments with GPs, specialists and allied health professionals @7NewsMelbourne pic.twitter.com/C5ojYV5zux
— Jodi Lee (@jodilee_7) December 12, 2021
Students will no longer be required to apply for a travel exemption to return to Australia. India has also decided to create an air bubble with Australia. However, only those having a valid student or work visa to enter Australia will be allowed to travel. The air bubble will also serve Nepali and Bhutani nationals flying through India.
What is important to note is that every state or territory in Australia has its own protocols in place, which students and workers travelling from India will have to abide by. For instance, they will be required to quarantine for 14 days if travelling to Queensland and South Australia. Similarly, those flying to New South Wales and Victoria will be mandated to serve a 72-hour home quarantine.
As far as India is concerned, as many as 42 Omicron cases have been reported so far.