Australia to limit ‘bulk’ of tourists heading to Hawaii
AUSTRALIA’S travel restrictions are set to be lifted on Tuesday, with many tourists planning to head for the island nation for a week-long celebration of the coronavirus.
The government announced on Tuesday that travellers would be able to travel to Hawaii, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos for a total of nine days.
The restrictions will come into effect from Thursday, but it is expected that some travellers will be able return home on Tuesday.
Australia has imposed travel restrictions on a number of islands, including the popular Kohala and the popular Bali, which have seen some of the highest levels of coronaviruses detected.
It is the third major coronaviral pandemic in Australia’s history, with more than 50,000 deaths and 2.8 million infections.
“This is the largest outbreak of coronavia that we have seen and the number of deaths that we’ve seen, the virus has spread rapidly in the world,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
“The most important thing is to have a clear plan for a safe return home for those people.”
Mr Hunt said a total number of 50,400 flights were allowed between mainland Australia and Hawaii on Tuesday and said that the number would increase further as people returned home.
“As of tomorrow, all of these flights will be unrestricted.”
So you can be sure that we’ll continue to be able meet the requirements of the Commonwealths quarantine regime and we’ll be able get those flights up to the capacity of the airlines,” he said.
The announcement comes days after Australia’s national peak body, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), announced that some of its top health workers had been sent home from the islands.
Mr Hunt defended the decision, saying it was not an attempt to prevent people from returning home.
He said the government was focused on the health of the public and not the safety of the people.”
We’ve seen this in other countries that we’re seeing a massive increase in coronavirent,” he told the ABC.”
What we want to do is put a plan in place to make sure that our people are protected in the communities, and that they’re safe and sound and able to get back home.
“Dr Andrew Symonds, a professor of infectious diseases at Curtin University, said there was no evidence the restrictions would reduce the spread of coronovirus.”
I don’t see that as a significant threat,” Dr Symonds said.
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