Australia delayed partial opening of borders from 1 to 15 December to qualified workers and foreign students vaccinated after detecting four cases of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The measure, which also affects travelers with family visit visas, has been taken to give the authorities time to study the new variant and the efficacy of vaccines with it, the Government indicated in a statement collected by the public chain ABC.
The travel bubbles that were going to allow travelers from Japan and South Korea vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the country from the same date are also delayed until the 15th, added the Australian Executive.
“This temporary suspension will ensure that Australia collects the information necessary to better understand the omicron variant,” explained the prime minister. Scott Morrison cited among these necessary knowledge “the efficacy of vaccines, the degree and symptoms of the disease it can generate and the level of contagion” of the new variant.
The authorities have detected four cases of the new variant, including two passengers who arrived on Monday on a flight from southern Africa and two other people who disembarked from a plane arrived from Doha. Subsequently, a fifth case.
Like many other countries around the world, Australia is passing travel restrictions on the new omicron variant, first detected in South Africa and considered a concern by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Since Saturday, the Australian authorities prohibit entry into their territory to non-Australian travelers or residents of the country who have visited in the last 14 days South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Mozambique or the Seychelles Islands, where the variant is suspected of circulating omicron.
Australians or residents arriving from those countries are allowed entry but must serve a 14-day quarantine in a facility designated by the authorities.
Australia has accumulated more than 208,000 covid-19 infections since the start of the pandemic, including 1,994 deaths so far.
(With information from EFE)
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