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Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt. Source: SBS
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  • Australia is keeping its international borders shut until at least mid-June following another extension of the emergency travel ban by the Federal Government
  • The travel ban, which falls under the Biosecurity Act 2015, was slated to lift on March 17 but has been extended to June 17
  • Health Minister Greg Hunt says the extension comes in light of the “unacceptable public health risk” the COVID-19 situation overseas still poses to Australia
  • The extension means Australians cannot board international flights unless they are granted an exemption from the travel ban
  • Existing restrictions on cruise ships in Australia are also remaining in place

Australia is keeping its international borders shut until at least mid-June following another extension of the emergency travel ban by the Federal Government.

While Australia has, for the most part, managed to rein in the coronavirus pandemic and remain largely open as a nation, COVID-19 is still running rampant overseas.

As such, Health Minister Greg Hunt said this week the emergency travel ban under the Biosecurity Act 2015 — which was slated to lift on March 17 — is being extended for another three months to June 17, 2021.

The extension comes on the back of advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).

“The AHPPC has advised the Australian Government the COVID-19 situation overseas continues to pose an unacceptable public health risk to Australia, including the emergence of more highly transmissible variants,” Minister Hunt said.

“The extension of the emergency period for a further three months is about mitigating that risk for everyone’s health and safety,” he said.

While the Federal Government can amend or revoke the laws if it feels they are no longer needed, the extension means Australians cannot board international flights unless they are granted an exemption from the travel ban.

International flights still leaving and entering Australia will be subject to testing and mask-wearing mandates, while existing restrictions on cruise ships in Australian waters are still in place.

“The Australian Government continues to work closely with state and territory agencies, national health committees and the cruise industry to develop a framework for the staged resumption of cruise ships in a manner that is proportionate to the public health risk,” the Health Minister said.

Trading restrictions on retail outlets in airports are also staying in place.

The travel ban has been in place since March 18, 2020.

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