As cases rise, will more countries start banning Australians?

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An Australian passport is one of the best a traveler can have. According to the Henley Passport Index, which ranks the world’s passports by the number of destinations their holders can enter without a visa, we are number seven on the list, able to visit 185 countries using our passport alone.

That’s great – but some of those 185 countries won’t let us in right now. The reason for this is the fear that Australian travelers will spread COVID-19 as at the moment we are not handling it very well.

Will Singapore crush us?

Australia is one of the few countries whose passport holders have enjoyed Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) rights with Singapore, allowing eligible vaccinated travelers to enter Singapore without quarantine. At the end of 2021, Singapore closed the door, suspending the sale of all VTL tickets until January 20, 2022. For designated VTL flights after this date, VTL ticket sales will be capped at 50%. This decision came in response to the growing spread of the Omicrom variant and applied to all countries that previously had VTL rights, including the UK, US, India and countries in Europe. western.

Australians are allowed to travel to Bali but must do so via Jakarta, not on a non-stop flight to Denpasar. In contrast, New Zealanders could fly nonstop to Bali, except that there are currently no nonstop flights between the two. Nationals of 17 other countries, including China, Poland and Liechtenstein, can also enter Bali directly, but US and Canadian citizens must pass through Jakarta.

The Hong Kong government includes Australia in “Group A – High Risk Locations”, which prohibits entry to anyone who has been in Australia in the previous 21 days, unless they are a resident of Hong Kong fully vaccinated. It’s not just us. There are over 160 countries on the Group A list. Even New Zealand.

Are we rejected?

You must be wondering when we are forced to use the trader’s entrance in Bali, for many years our second most popular overseas destination. Blame politics for having played a role in this decision.

Despite a skyrocketing COVID-19 infection rate, Australia is still seen as doing better than most OECD countries. On the US Centers for Disease Control’s travel health website, Australia is assigned a level three “COVID-19 High” rating. A level three warning puts us in the same category as Singapore, South Korea and Chile, and that’s better than all but a handful of countries in North America and Europe. from Eastern Europe. This gives a pretty good indication of how we are perceived by the rest of the world and based on this there is little danger of us being singled out as infection spreaders.

However, Norway is a European country that has closed the door to us. According to a Norwegian government website, “the COVID-19 certificate must have a QR code that can be verified by Norwegian authorities.” While the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC) is recognised, the International COVID-19 Certificate (ICVC) issued by the Australian Government is not, and therefore at this time we cannot enter.

Norway doesn’t see a huge number of Australian visitors, but it does offer some world-class trips on the Flam Railway and Hurtigruten cruises, which take travelers on a journey through the fjords along Norway’s deeply incised west coast. Norway, as far as Kirkenes. , within the Arctic Circle and close to the Russian border. Both inspire deep and lasting passions and this situation is causing considerable angst among travelers planning to visit Norway in the upcoming spring and summer.

The solution is simple. According to a statement from the European Union’s External Action Service dated October 27, 2021, “The EU has recently opened its digital COVID certificate to non-EU countries, which means that these countries can request to the European Commission an “equivalence decision” which would make the certificates they directly issue acceptable under the same conditions as the EU digital COVID certificate (EU DCC).

In one fell swoop, this would solve the problem of Australian travelers wanting to travel freely in Europe. Not only for those who want to visit Norway, but also for anyone who wants to visit museums and galleries, sit in restaurants and travel on long-distance trains, but it seems that the Australian government has not applied . Don’t ask and you won’t get. Unlike the citizens of Armenia, the Faroe Islands, Moldova, New Zealand, Togo and 28 other countries, all of whose fully vaccinated citizens have been welcomed into the EU DCC system, the Australian government, by its own lack of action, made it much more difficult for us to travel through Europe.

Five reasons why travel will be better in 2022

There are reasons to travel merrily in 2022, despite the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

1. We have vaccines for COVID-19, and they work. This opens the door to safe travel, and Australia is one of the most protected countries, with over 90% of the population over the age of 16 doubly vaccinated. This time last year, no one in Australia was vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they received the vaccine overseas. The Pfizer vaccine was not approved by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration until late January 2021, AstraZeneca in mid-February.

2. We can now travel abroad without permission. From March 25, 2020, anyone wishing to leave Australia had to apply to the Home Office for a travel exemption. Australia was one of the only countries in the world to impose such a ban on its residents. Today, you can leave as you wish, provided you meet the vaccination requirements at your destination, just as you might also need a visa.

3. Our national borders are open. Mostly, anyway. Vaccinated travelers from mainland Australia can travel to Tasmania, although those from high-risk areas (see coronavirus.tas.gov.au) must test negative, i.e. a rapid antigen test (RAT) within 24 hours before departure, or a PCR test. within 72 hours. Vaccinated highway travelers can enter the Northern Territory but must take a RAT test within two hours of arrival. Western Australia plans to relax interstate and international borders from February 5 (see wa.gov.au).

4. We also bid farewell to the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine for returning travellers. Fully vaccinated Australian travelers returning from overseas to Victoria or NSW should go immediately to their home or accommodation, take a RAT or PCR test and self-isolate pending a negative result. Fully vaccinated travelers entering Queensland on a non-quarantine flight from a Safe Travel Zone country (see qld.gov.au) can enter without needing to quarantine.

5. The rest of the world is opening up. Provided you are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, you can enter North America and Europe, although traveling to Europe is problematic due to the non-recognition of the International Vaccine Certificate from Australia. The Omicron variant complicates travel to some of our favorite Asian destinations but you can expect travel to reopen in New Zealand, scheduled for April 30.

See also: Yes, we will be traveling in 2022 – here’s how

See also: Australian vaccination certificates won’t work in Europe unless you do

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