Omicron scare: Australia postpones border reopening by two weeks for now

After the country started reporting cases of the new omicron variant of Covid-19, the Australian government has decided to postpone reopening of its international borders for the skilled workers and students, by at least two weeks for now.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, after conducting an emergency review meeting, said that the country had earlier decided to reopen its border on December 1 but looking at the situation, the government had decided to delay the reopening by two weeks.

The Prime Minister said that this decision is ‘necessary’ and has been taken after medical advice. However, the decision is temporary and the rules will be reconsidered in other meetings.

Australia had also planned to open its borders for the visitors from Japan and South Korea on the same scheduled date but the reopening has been halted.

Australia’s international borders are closed to most of the non-citizens ever since the pandemic broke out. For more than 20 months now, the government is not allowing tourists to visit the country citing fears of transmission of the Covid-19 infection. Due to this, many sectors, including education and tourism, are facing financial losses.

The country has so far confirmed five cases of the Omicron variant while the government sources said that they are concerned over the new variant, its symptoms and the level of its transmission.

The omicron variant of the coronavirus, which was first detected in South Africa, is considered highly infectious and capable of sustaining frequent mutations. World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared omicron as the ‘variant of concern’.

The Australian government authorities are keeping a strict vigil on the international travellers. Since Sunday, over 150 passengers have arrived at Australian airports after travelling from nine omicron-hot countries. However, all the passengers have been quarantined.

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