A potential extension on international travel restrictions in Australia is likely to be actioned in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Australia’s citizens and residents have been informed by their Federal Government that outbound international flights, which was scheduled to open in June 2020, may be out of reach until 2021. The novel coronavirus has infected over 1.8 million people worldwide, of which 6,359 patients are recorded in Australia.
"It’s impossible to tell at present precisely when travel restrictions will be removed, because that will be a matter dependent upon the health advice at the time," Simon Birmingham, Federal Tourism Minister said on Sunrise Australia. "This is a time where, unfortunately, people can’t undertake holidays and they won’t be able to travel overseas for quite some time to come. Certainly this time is a good time for a bit of dreaming, a bit of planning, think about that Aussie break that you might take when we do finally get to the other side of this," he added.
Tourism Minister @Birmo is urging Aussies to start "dreaming" about their next domestic holiday when coronavirus rules and restrictions are relaxed. Read more: https://t.co/FEVxxYZp4K pic.twitter.com/t0O4myzrBk— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) April 12, 2020
However, not all hope is gone for Australian citizens and residents who wish to travel within the country as Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack informed the ABC that he spent the weekend speaking with the team at Qantas and Virgin Australia about subsidising domestic flights. Mr. McCormack admitted, "We also need, of course, to transfer people around from capital city to capital city. So we'll be looking at that. We'll be looking at what we can do in conjunction with the airlines, who are cooperative."
While limited domestic flights are open within the country between Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s borders are currently closed for all regular overseas travel – except for a number of special inbound passenger flights allowing only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members to return home.