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Australian government cuts overseas arrivals quota in half, as nation battles to contain Covid outbreaks

Australian government cuts overseas arrivals quota in half, as nation battles to contain Covid outbreaks
Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, has announced that officials will slash overseas arrivals to the country by around 50%, as the nation battles to contain Covid outbreaks that have forced four cities into lockdown.

From the middle of July, Australia will cut the overseas arrivals quota to 3,000 to reduce the risk of importing new strains into the country, such as the Delta variant, which has fuelled Covid outbreaks in major cities. Although, while restricting non-Australian arrivals, the government will increase repatriation flights to bring its own citizens home.

Earlier, the number of overseas arrivals into the country under the nation’s ‘zero COVID’ strategy was 6,000, forcing travellers to go through a two-week hotel quarantine.

The increased border restrictions come as Australia fights to contain Covid outbreaks in four major cities, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, and Sydney, as well as part of the outback, Alice Springs, with more than 10 million citizens under lockdown measures.

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There has been criticism within the country over the need to keep returning to snap lockdowns due to the inability of hotel quarantines to prevent the virus from spreading throughout the community. Part of the problem facing the country has been its slow vaccine rollouts, with fewer than 8% of the adult population fully vaccinated, meaning that quick spreading variants pose a significant threat.

Addressing this on Friday, Morrison called on individuals to get vaccinated to “change how we live as a country,” with scientific advisers tasked with setting inoculation targets for reopening the nation and its borders to people who have had both doses of a Covid jab.

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