International travel ban extended until December

Australia will extend its ban on overseas travel and restrictions on cruise ships entering the country for another three months.

Health Minister Greg Hunt announced yesterday the measures will stay in place until December 17.

“The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee… has advised that the international and domestic COVID-19 situation continues to pose an unacceptable public health risk,” he said.

“The extension of the emergency period is an appropriate response to that risk.

“The human biosecurity emergency declaration ensures the government has the powers to take any necessary measures to prevent and control COVID-19 and protect the health of all Australians.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also announced he is looking to end domestic border closures and guarantee a complete economic reopening so the nation will be “whole again by Christmas”.

Meanwhile Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says the development of fast Covid-19 tests could restart international travel earlier than expected.

“There’s some great developments in testing that could resolve the issue of people needing to go into quarantine,” he said.

Tests that deliver results in as little as 15 minutes “means if you pass there’s no need to be in quarantine at the other end,” Joyce said, which in turn could lead to travel “bubbles” opening up one by one with countries with similar infection rates such as New Zealand.