Only 3,000 people will be allowed to enter Australia each week and arrivals will be subject to mandatory two-week quarantine at the hotel.
Australia announced a dramatic reduction in the number of people who will be allowed to enter the country on Friday, while struggling to contain clusters of coronaviruses that have plunged major cities into the wild.
With nearly half the nation’s population under order to stay at home, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said quotas for arrivals abroad would be reduced by about 50 per cent to help prevent further outbreaks. .
Under the current “zero COVID” strategy, only 6,000 people are allowed to enter Australia on overseas commercial flights each week and arrivals must be subject to mandatory two-week hotel quarantine.
That quota will be reduced to about 3,000 by mid-July, Morrison said, although the government is intensifying its private repatriation flights at the same time.
Morrison announced the decision amid growing anger over repeated blockades, the fugitiveness of the hotel’s quarantine structures and what critics have called a “walking” vaccine.
More than 18 months after the pandemic, less than 8 percent of adults have been completely vaccinated.
“This is a difficult time when people are dealing with restrictions,” Morrison said. “There’s still a long way to go.”
Sydney, Brisbane and Perth are currently closed – a total of about 10 million people – in an effort to suppress the outbreaks that lifted 27 new local homes Thursday.
Although locks are raised in Alice Springs, Darwin and the Gold Coast of Queensland, clusters continue to grow, particularly in Sydney.
Trying to address the growing anger at the prospect of border restrictions entering its second year, Morrison envisioned a “new agreement” that would change the country’s strategy from suppressing the coronavirus to its management.
The Australian national cabinet has decided to reduce the number of returning passengers by 50%. This capitulation is a monumental failure by the prime minister.
We will discuss this step back at 16 hours @SkyNewsAust
– Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) July 2, 2021
The government, he said, will soon adopt vaccination targets, which will, in turn, allow the gradual opening of borders and the return to normal life.
He indicated that the borders would be opened first for vaccinated Australians and overseas travelers, who could also be subject to reduced quarantine requirements.
Vaccination targets are likely to be set by scientific advisors rather than by politicians.
“If you’re vaccinated, you can change how we live as a country, you can change how you live in Australia,” Morrison said.
Before the outbreak of the pandemic, about 260,000 people entered Australia each week, and citizens were free to travel overseas.