Countries and jurisdictions around the world are placing additional restrictions on travellers from Australia for the first time in over 18 months, due to the country’s rising COVID-19 case numbers.
Australians could soon be unable to travel to European countries for non-essential purposes, while the US has warned its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Australia.
The European Council has removed Australia, along with a number of other “high-risk” countries such as Canada and Argentina, off its “white list” for restriction-free travel and dubbed Australia as a “COVID danger zone”.
The move means the Council has recommended that members of the European Union restrict access to their countries from Australia for non-essential purposes.
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 travellers from Australia.
Meanwhile, the US 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.
While the decision doesn’t formally ban anyone from travelling to or from Australia, it does mean the US government is advising Americans – particularly unvaccinated Americans – not to travel Down Under, amid the ongoing Omicron outbreak.
America’s State Department said in a statement, “The CDC has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Australia due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country”.
“Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine.
“Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC’s specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.”
It comes as Singapore reopens bookings under its Vaccinated Travel Lane with Australia, after a temporary four-week pause imposed in December in light of Omicron variant fears.
Fully vaccinated Australians will now be able to book and travel to Singapore without quarantine, however, will need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result within three days of travel.
Prior to the current outbreak, travellers from Australia were subject to very little restrictions when entering other countries, due to maintaining a largely zero-COVID strategy for much of the pandemic.
However, the nations’ current COVID streak means Australia now has one of the highest numbers of daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in the world.
Meanwhile, Australia only reopened 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, however, tourists remain largely banned from entering the country unless a travel bubble is in place.