Before 2022, International Tourists Can’t Visit Australia

International tourists will not be able to visit Australia before next year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Tuesday (5/10).

He also said that once international travel in and out of Australia was opened, skilled migrants and students would be given top priority, after Australian citizens and permanent residents.

Morrison said Australia had hit the vaccination target that would allow the country to end lockdown, Tuesday. About 80 percent of the population aged 16 and over have had a second injection.

Last week, he outlined plans to allow citizens and permanent residents who have been vaccinated to fly abroad from November for the first time since a particularly harsh travel ban took effect in March last year.

He said, after Australians, the next priority was skilled migrants and international students.

Australian immigration is at its lowest point since World War II due to pandemic-related restrictions.

The pandemic has also had a devastating impact on Australian universities which rely heavily on fees paid by international students.

Students walk around the campus of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, December 1, 2020.

Students walk around the campus of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, December 1, 2020.

The education sector is concerned that international students will enroll in other countries unless Australia opens its borders to them soon.

The Australian Tourism Export Council, which represents a sector that generated A$45 billion (or about US$33 billion) a year in international tourists before the pandemic, wants international visitors back in March.

Australia is scrambling to roll out a vaccination program as the outbreak of the more contagious Delta variant that started in Sydney in June continues to spread.

Bourke Street in Melbourne, Australia, looks deserted amid the COVID-19 pandemic, September 30, 2021..

Bourke Street in Melbourne, Australia, looks deserted amid the COVID-19 pandemic, September 30, 2021..

The state of Victoria on Tuesday (5/10), reported a national record of 1,763 new local infections. The previous national record was held by the state of New South Wales with 1,599 infections in 24 hours when the outbreak peaked on September 10.

Hospitalization peaked in Australia’s most populous state in mid-September.

New South Wales leads other states in vaccination rates and Sydney airport is expected to be the first to reopen to travelers who have been vaccinated. [ab/uh]

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