Australia Extends Cruise Ban

Australia has extended its ban on cruise vessels entering the country, according to a statement by the country’s Health Minister Greg Hunt.

The extension of the human biosecurity emergency period under the Biosecurity Act 2015 means that the four existing emergency requirement determinations will remain in force for another two months until Feb. 17, 2022.

These determinations include mandatory pre-departure testing and mask-wearing for international flights; restrictions on international travel from high-risk countries; restrictions on outbound international travel for unvaccinated Australians; and restrictions on the entry of cruise vessels within Australian territory.

The cruise vessel restriction will be reviewed monthly, according to the release.

“The government continues to work constructively with the cruise ship industry, with whom we remain actively engaged alongside state and territory governments to enable a phased resumption of cruising in Australia on the basis of medical advice,” the statement read. “As part of this work, the government will continually review, on a monthly basis, whether the current restrictions on cruise ships can be safely lifted or amended.”

The arrangements have been in place since March 18, 2020, with the aim of protecting Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their extension was made in accordance with specialist medical and epidemiological advice provided by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, according to the statement.

Any of the four determinations can also be revoked at an earlier time, depending on medical advice.

“Continuation of these arrangements will allow the important measures currently in place to continue as the government continues to reopen Australia and act decisively to respond to the emergence of the Omicron variant,” the statement reads.

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