Australia Aims to Allow International Cruising ‘Over Coming Months’

Pacific Explorer in Sydney

Australia has extended its ban on cruise vessels entering the country until Apr. 17, 2022, with plans to make the resumption possible “over coming months.”

This is 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 five existing emergency requirements – including the ban on cruise vessels entering the Australian territory – will remain in force for another two months until Apr. 17, 2022.

More specifically, these determinations include mandatory pre-departure testing and mask-wearing for international flights; measures to prevent price gouging on rapid antigen tests; restrictions on outbound international travel for unvaccinated Australians; restrictions to protect remote communities in the Northern Territory; and restrictions on the entry of cruise vessels within Australian territory.

However, the requirement may be revoked before Apr. 17 if the health advice changes, the statement reads, "noting the peak of the Omicron wave appears to have passed whilst there are still areas of concern and planning is occurring to manage any increase during winter."

The statement also said that there was an agreement at National Cabinet that the Commonwealth, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland agreed to work with the industry to implement new protocols to enable the resumption of cruising over the coming months.

“The Commonwealth can remove the restrictions on cruising as soon as it is advised that it is safe to do so and the Minister will regularly review this advice,” the statement read.

“These emergency requirements have helped Australia respond quickly to manage the number of inbound and outbound travelers, reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading on flights and at international airports in Australia, further manage the number of cases in quarantine facilities, and ensure the accessibility and affordability of rapid antigen test kits,” it added.

The emergency requirements will be reviewed regularly to consider the latest medical advice, according to the statement.

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