Australia slows down newcomers even more because of the risks of the variant

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference following a national cabinet meeting at the House of Parliament in Canberra on Friday 2 July 2021. Australia announced plans to reduce the half the arrivals of commercial passengers due to the emerging risk of the COVID-19 delta variant as on Friday some parts of the country came out of closure. Credit: Lukas Coch / AAP Image via AP

Australia plans to halve commercial passenger arrivals due to virus risks, as parts of the country left the closures on Friday.

Australia will lower its arrival limit from 6,000 passengers a week to 3,000 on July 14 to reduce pressure on hotel quarantine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after a meeting with state and territorial leaders.

Australia already has some of the strictest border restrictions in the world aimed at keeping COVID-19 out of the country. The new restrictions add to the obstacles faced by 34,000 Australian citizens and permanent residents stranded abroad and registered with the government to want to return home.

The government will charter more planes to repatriate Australians, but the reduced limit on commercial passenger arrivals could continue until next year.

“Yes changes from then on, if medical councils suggest we can alter it, it is clear that the national cabinet has always been receptive to that council and we will continue to oversee it, ”Morrison told reporters in reference to his meetings decision-making with state and territorial leaders.

“We wouldn’t want to keep these lids in place longer than we had to,” he added.

Nearly half of the Australian population has been closed since last week due to groups mainly of the delta variant of the coronavirus which is believed to be most contagious.

Several cities in the state of Queensland and the Northern Territory came out of blockade on Friday. The capital of Queensland, Brisbane, and the neighboring area of ​​Moreton Bay would remain closed until Saturday after a mother and daughter tested positive in Brisbane.

The largest group is in Sydney, where 31 new cases were reported on Friday, the largest daily count of the current emergency. Sydney’s two-week closing will end on July 9th.

Australia has had relatively high success in containing clusters throughout the pandemic, recording less than 31,000 cases in a population of 26 million people and 910 deaths in total.

The highest infection rate of the delta variant has exposed the vulnerability of the Australian population in which, according to government data, only 8% are fully vaccinated.

Morrison said a vaccine would be made available to all Australians who wanted it by the end of the year.

The government has proposed fewer restrictions for vaccinated people, such as allowing them to quarantine at home one week after traveling abroad instead of two weeks in a hotel for the unvaccinated.

“A lot of people say, ‘Well, why should I get vaccinated?’ They say, “There is not much COVID in Australia. I have more chances, I don’t know, of being hit by a car than taking COVID, ”Morrison said.

“We are prisoners of our own success in this. If you get vaccinated, you will be able to change the way we live as a country. You can change the way you live in Australia. And I think that is a very powerful message,” he said. added.

Australia introduced extraordinarily harsh border restrictions in March 2020 that prevent Australian citizens and permanent residents from leaving the country and foreigners from arriving except under limited circumstances.


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