LONDON – For the first time in over 18 months, visitors from Australia face more restrictions around the world, due to the country’s sharp increase in COVID-19 cases numbers.
The United States has warned its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Australia, while European countries could soon lockout Australians for non-essential purposes.
The European Council has already removed Australia from the “white list” for restriction-free travel and dubbed the country as “COVID danger zones”.
The move means Australia is no longer recommended as a country from which travel restrictions should be lifted.
However, each nation is allowed to make that decision individually, with nations such as Italy and Greece already stating they will not be adding restrictions to travelers from Australia.
The decision to scrap Australia from the safe list was made in the 14 days in which the country’s daily COVID numbers increased from 30,000 to more than 100,000.
Australia’s COVID streak is now one of the highest numbers of daily new confirmed cases per million people in the world.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has moved Australia, along with 21 other countries, into its highest-risk Level 4 “Do Not Travel” category for travel.
The decision doesn’t formally ban anyone from traveling to or from Australia, but the U.S. government is advising Americans not to travel, amid the ongoing Omicron outbreak.
Restrictions on travelers come after Singapore reopened bookings under its Vaccinated Travel Lane with Australia after a 4-week hiatus introduced in December.
Fully vaccinated Australians are now able to book and travel to Singapore without quarantine, however, they need to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken 72 hours before travel.
Australia eased its international borders to returning Australian citizens and residents in November 2021, after maintaining a ban on all travel to and from Australia since March 2020.
Travel restrictions were further eased for international students and skilled migrants from mid-December. Tourists remain largely banned from entering the country unless a travel bubble is in place.