Amid fears over the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, Australia has delayed plans to reopen its borders to international students and workers by at least two weeks. Vaccinated skilled workers and students holding required visas were due to enter the country from December 1.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison took the decision during an emergency security meeting held on November 29.
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“The temporary pause will ensure Australia can gather the information we need to better understand the omicron variant, including the efficacy of the vaccine, the range of illness, including if it may generate more mild symptoms, and the level of transmission,” the Australian government, in a statement, said.
Last week, the government had said that it is expecting the return of around 200,000 eligible visa holders on December 1.
So far, five travellers arriving in the country have been found positive with the Omicron variant.
Australia had closed its international borders in May 2020 in a bid to control the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa earlier in November.