Even as the Omicron variant prompts leaders elsewhere to tighten restrictions, Australia said it would move forward with the next stage of its border reopening, believing it has sufficient defences to manage outbreaks of Covid-19.
International students, skilled migrants, and those on working-holiday visas will be able to travel freely to and from Australia starting Wednesday, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Beginning in November, citizens and permanent residents who had been vaccinated were allowed to travel freely.
Due to worries about the Omicron form, which scientists say is more contagious and could reduce vaccine effectiveness, Australia had postponed this part of its border reopening by two weeks. However, the choice to proceed shows that Omicron, which sent global stock markets plunging when it was originally discovered, may not be as destructive as initially thought.
Tourists are still mostly restricted from entering Australia, while travellers from Japan and South Korea will be permitted to enter beginning Wednesday. New Zealanders and Singaporeans had previously been allowed to visit.
Mr. Morrison said on Tuesday, “We’re not going to allow Omicron take us back.” “As a country, we have elected to live with this illness, and Australians have fought tirelessly to guarantee that we can.”
Because of Omicron, Australia is reducing its limits at the same time that the rest of the world is tightening theirs. Full or partial lockdowns have been restored in countries across Europe, including the Netherlands and Austria, while the United Kingdom just issued a work-from-home directive. Almost all international visitors are forbidden in Japan and Israel. And, regardless of immunisation status, California has just reinstated a mask requirement for indoor situations.
Due to severe travel restrictions and lockdowns, Australia has seen a low number of coronavirus illnesses and deaths during the epidemic. Citizens were prohibited from leaving the nation for much of the pandemic unless granted a rare exception, and those who returned were required to quarantine for two weeks in government-run institutions.
According to research from Johns Hopkins University, there have been roughly 232,000 Covid-19 cases and 2,100 deaths in Australia, which has a population of about 26 million people. In recent days, it has logged dozens of Omicron cases. With a population of roughly 330 million people, the United States has had around 50 million Covid-19 infections and 797,000 deaths.
There are evidence that Omicron is milder than other Covid-19 forms, according to Australian officials, and that immunizations provide protection against serious sickness. Booster shots are also being rolled out in Australia, and they are now available five months after the second dose rather than six months. According to a research published last week by Pfizer Inc., a third dosage of the vaccine restores the neutralising antibody response to a level capable of combating Omicron.