Australia announced it is officially extending its international travel ban for 3 more months.
Australia's government announced on Tuesday, March 2, that it was extending the travel ban through June 17, 2021. Its initial ban had been set to expire on March 17, but, the government noted fear that the rest of the world continued to pose "an unacceptable public health risk" to its borders.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a statement:
"The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee 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.
"The extension of the emergency period for a further three months is about mitigating that risk for everyone's health and safety."
The ban means that most Australians will have to remain in the nation through at least June 2021 unless they're granted an exemption. International trade will also remain heavily regulated. Those hoping to enter the country will have to wait longer, as flights can be expensive and get cancelled often, even with quarantine measures in place. The number includes ~39,000 Australian citizens currently registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as wishing to return home but remain stuck abroad because of the regulations.
Hunt added the new measure could be updated or amended any time, meaning that if the situation improves the country still has the option to move up the reopening date.