Travel restrictions

US and EU updated travel restrictions for Australia

The US and EU have tightened travel restrictions for Australians as Omicron cases reach some of the highest per capita rates in the world
  • The European Union has tightened its entry rules for some Australians.
  • It comes as the number of cases in the country reaches an average of 64,000 a day.
  • The CDC in the US also responded, adding Australia to its ‘Do Not Travel’ list for the first time.
  • Visit the Business Insider Australia homepage for more stories.

The United States and European countries are closing their doors to Australia, with new travel restrictions coming into effect as the country faces a rapid rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.

It comes as Australia’s per capita virus count hits one of the highest in the world, ranking ninth on the list of countries ranked by active cases per 100,000 people.

This means that the country has now overtaken the United States and the United Kingdom on these measures.

On Tuesday, the European Union said it was tightening COVID-19 travel rules for unvaccinated arrivals from Australia, removing it from a list of countries where easier travel restrictions apply regardless vaccination status.

It follows Norway, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore in restricting travel from Australia.

Non-EU citizens traveling from Australia will now need a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency to enter Europe.

The countries that remain in the first group of EU countries that do not require vaccination are Bahrain, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Kuwait, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda , Saudi Arabia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

Tuesday also saw a change in US rules regarding travel to Australia in response to the record number of cases in the country.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added Australia to its “Do Not Travel” list due to Omicron, the first time the country has reached the highest level of restrictions.

Australia has joined a list of 22 nations and territories restricted in response to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, including Israel, Egypt, Albania, Argentina and Uruguay.

The National Health Protection Agency has raised its travel recommendation to “Level Four: Very High,” telling Americans they should avoid traveling to these destinations, which also include Panama, Qatar, the Bahamas, Bahrain and Bolivia. There are now more than 100 countries on the CDC’s Tier Four list.

Other countries on the tier four list include Canada, France, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

“Do not travel internationally until you are fully immunized,” the CDC’s website said Wednesday.

“Getting vaccinated remains the best way to protect yourself from serious diseases, slow the spread of Covid-19 and reduce the number of new variants. The CDC encourages you to receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if you are eligible.

Australia has been facing a tsunami of cases since the start of 2021, with almost a million cases recorded in the past two weeks alone.

Over the past week, an average of 64,291 new cases have been reported every day.

To date, more than 58,984,000 tests have been carried out nationwide. Of those tests performed, 2.4% were found to be positive.

New COVID-19 infections have increased by 20% globally over the past week, with around 19 million total cases reported during the seven-day period.

The World Health Organization warned on Tuesday that the Omicron variant would not be the last variant of the virus.

“Don’t give up on science. Don’t give up on the strategies that work, that protect us and our loved ones,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO COVID technical lead.

“This will not be the last concerning variant,” she added, calling on governments to invest more in surveillance systems to track the virus as it mutates and spreads.