What’s the latest news in Australia? Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the country would reopen its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from Feb. 21, 2022, but one state remains grounded in keeping its strict border restrictions.
Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan has not budged on the state reopening its borders to the rest of the country unless they have permission to enter in a bid to keep COVID-19 out. No date has been set for the return of international travellers yet.
McGowan previously said the state would reopen to the rest of the country on Feb. 5, 2022, but reversed that decision.
Only students who arrive in Australia before 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 5, 2022 will be allowed to enter the state. International students who arrive in Australia after 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 5, 2022 cannot apply to enter the state under the Returning Student pathway.
In a Facebook post on Jan. 20, 2022, he said: “Allowing hundreds or thousands of Omicron infected people to fly straight into Perth from Feb. 5, 2022, with no testing, no quarantine and no public health measures, would cause a flood of COVID-19 across our state.”
Local reports say Morrison is backing the states’ decision to stay closed.
“I am backing that because the premier believes that if he were to take that step at this point the Omicron variant would be of great risk of overwhelming the health system,” Morrison was quoted saying by 9news.
“Living with the virus means being able to live with the virus and being able to live with that the virus means that the hospital system can cope.”
He added that he understood McGowan’s concerns about the Western Australia health system and believed it was important Western Australia has a plan before the borders reopen.
Latest news in Australia: Flights, incentives for students
What about the latest news in Australia pertaining to students? The Financial Review reported today that education institutions are constrained in their capacity to welcome international students as there are few flights to take them back to Australia.
Some Australian universities are also offering students financial incentives to cover additional costs associated with compulsory testing for the virus and quarantine.
The University of Canberra director of global student recruitment Mike Ferguson said his university was offering arriving students 1,500 Australian dollars to help cover costs.
“Universities are putting in place mechanisms to encourage students to come back earlier rather than later and make it attractive,” Ferguson was quoted saying.