Facing outbreaks of the contagious delta variant and a floundering vaccination campaign, Australia moved Friday to further seal itself off from the world as its earlier success in tackling the coronavirus continued to unravel.
Officials agreed to halve the number of people permitted to enter the nation under an already strict border policy that almost exclusively bars entry to everyone except returning citizens, residents and their immediate families, who are required to complete two weeks in hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Covid paradise Australia faces nationwide outbreak as ‘gilded cage’ is tested by delta variant
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has come under fire over the slow pace of Australia’s vaccination rollout, said further restricting international arrivals was “a prudent action while we remain in this suppression phase of the virus.”
“The delta strain is more contagious and so we’re seeking to take precautionary steps to overall reduce the risk,” he told reporters in his first public appearance since he began isolating at his official residence in Canberra two weeks ago after attending the G-7 summit in Britain.