Australia Likely To Keep Borders Closed Until 2021 Due to COVID-19

by Kristine Cannon
Sydney Australia
Prasit photo/Getty Images

The country is unlikely to open its borders to international travelers until at least 2021

Don’t expect to fly into Australia anytime soon. According to Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, the country is unlikely to open its borders to international travelers until at least 2021 due to the pandemic. Birmingham also told the National Press Club it is “more likely” Australians will be banned from overseas travel until 2021 as well — unless under special exemptions for limited business travel, the New Zealand Herald reports.

“I hope that we can look eventually at some of those countries who have similar successes in suppressing the spread of COVID to Australia and New Zealand, and in working … with those countries to find safe pathways to deal with essential business travel that helps to contribute to jobs across our economies,” Birmingham said, adding that “in terms of open tourist-related travel in or out of Australia, that remains quite some distance off, just because of the practicalities of the volumes that are involved and the need for us to first and foremost keep putting health first.”

As for international students who may be abroad, Australia could allow them back into the country sooner, as long as they self-quarantine for two weeks.

“There is a certain logic that extends to say that international students and other categories of visitors to Australia who stay here for a longer period of time can more easily be accommodated because we can simply work through the 14-day quarantine periods that have worked so well in terms of returning Australians to this country safely to date,” Birmingham said.

Tourism Australia reports that, currently, only Australian citizens, residents, and immediate family can visit the country. Once they land, they must self-quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility such as a hotel.

Tourism Australia’s Managing Director Phillipa Harrison recently told Travel + Leisure that while international travelers will form a “critical part” of the country’s tourism restart and recovery, it “will likely be further down the track.”

“We just don’t know when international restrictions will start to be lifted, nor how the process of restoring international travel will play out. But we will be ready to go back when the time is right,” Harrison said.

According to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering COVID-19 dashboard, Australia has 7,436 confirmed cases and 102 deaths as of June 20. The United States, in comparison, has more than 2.241 million confirmed cases (more than double Brazil’s confirmed cases) and more than 119,475 deaths. The United States has, by the far, the most confirmed cases in the world. Australia is home to around 25 million people.

Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.