International travel ban: Australia's borders closed until 2021?

That overseas business trip or holiday could be a long way off...

By David Flynn, June 17 2020
International travel ban: Australia's borders closed until 2021?

Looking forward to an overseas trip after the long coronavirus lockdown? You may as well put your passport back in the drawer, because with the exception of a few countries which have vanquished Covid-19, international travel is likely to be off the cards until next year as Australia's border closure stretches into 2021.

That's the take of Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham, who today told Canberra's National Press Club that "open tourist-related travel in or out of Australia... remains quite some distance off."

Asked whether that meant the border would not open until next year, Birmingham responded "I think that is more likely the case".

However, it won't be a blanket ban: discussions between Australia and New Zealand governments on proposals by the joint Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group could see travel between the countries by September without the need for any isolation or quarantine period at either end of the journey, although passengers may need to undergo a COVID-19 test and carry a certificate confirming they are free from the disease.

Read more: Australia-New Zealand flights set for likely September start

That 'travel bubble' could extend to other Pacific islands including Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu, while Singapore has raised the possibility of opening its borders to Australia and  several other countries by the end of this year.

Read more: Australia-Singapore travel could restart under 'green lane' plan

However, Birmingham suggested that business travel could also see an earlier opening than leisure travel.

"I hope that we can look eventually at some of those countries who have similar successes in suppressing the spread of COVID to Australia and New Zealand, and in working through that with those countries, find safe pathways to deal with essential business travel that helps to contribute to jobs across our economies."

Singapore could also find itself on that list, as the island-nation is currently trialling a 'fast lane' for business travellers which removes the need to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival.

Also read: Who is exempt from Australia's international coronavirus travel ban?

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

This is depressing and very concerning as to how Australia is dealing with this crisis. It's admirable that Australia has managed to keep the disease in check (far better than where I am in the UK, where the ineptitude of the leadership here has led to an unmitigated disaster). However, I fear it is becoming a victim of its own success and beholden to a lockdown mentality that is leading to policies that are simply not realistic or practical going forward.

18 May 2020

Total posts 9

Yes! You speak so much sense (in both your comments). I wish those in charge thought like you. We cannot sit and wait, shut off, as it will only increase the fear and isolation.

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

doesn't mean it's true. SO you can fly OZ to NZ in Sept or earlier. Air NZ is selling AKL to everywhere in Sept, so you can fly OZ/AKL/LAX on NZ. As if Qantas won't be doing it nonstop.

yes who wants to fly via NZ to go to USA ?

Sas
Sas

18 Jun 2020

Total posts 5

I hadn't thought of that!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 May 2017

Total posts 1

I wouldn't be booking anything outside the bubble unless you are prepared for 2 weeks hotel quarantine at your expense when you return. Unless on your return you are prepared to make a false declaration and travel on a second passport and face the authorities if caught?

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

if I had to go into quarantine I'd do it at home.

23 Apr 2020

Total posts 6

Many airlines (including BA) are selling flights in the near term all over the place. Doesn't mean they will operate. Simply means they would love you to help with their cash flow for the time being and will roll over or credit you for the booking when it doesn't take place. BA has a rolling window to many places so it always looks like flights are 4-6 weeks away from starting - but they don't.

21 Jun 2020

Total posts 5

Mandatory testing around the globe should be before passenger boards plane not on arrival.

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 122

I hope japan will be open by feb next year. I want to go skiing then if possible

covo95, you obviously haven't skied in USA. 10 times better than anything in Japan & much better value.

We've just booked 2 weeks in Copper Mt Colorado in January. only had to put down $40 u.s. deposit. On snow accommodation was $250 au. a night. We just went for 3 star, small apartment, but only 200m from lifts, which are 6 or 8 person. Friends who've skied Whistler, Aspen, Vail & Steamboat say it's better than those, but without crowds. Have only skied 1 day there 5 years ago, when in Denver on business. For this trip, lift tickets only $60 au a day for adults with kids free (up to 4 per adult). Not a bad way to ski, without spending a bucket load of cash.

We also got $999 return fares to LAX departing January 4, with only $99 deposit, with rest due 90 days prior. We can even upgrade straight to business class, by bidding online for each sector. No min fare required.

We got frequent flyer seats LAX to Colorado which includes checked bags & Hertz 4wd from airport to resort for $140 au, each way.

Was wondering if these were corona prices, but agent said only the airfares were corona based prices.

22 Dec 2017

Total posts 25

Australia's unique position as a nearly COVID free country will bring enormous economic, political and health benefits which will far outweigh the costs of closed international borders until a vaccine is developed. The pressure / temptation to re-open them prematurely must be resisted.

I really don't believe that to be "COVID free" is a sustainable goal in the short term. Until a vaccine has been rolled out and administered to everyone, cases will lurk, especially in a country as big as Australia. Therefore, to remain so focused on being 100% free of it creates unrealistic expectations, and which leads to extreme reactions when inevitably cases are found - on again off again lockdowns are going to be far more damaging to economic confidence. This is something we need to learn to live with by managing it, taking precautions, and not allowing to shut things down completely.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 56

Well said AussieInLondon. Any time I voice similar concerns, some people look at me as if I want them to contact the virus and die! With simple precautions we can manage this. We will never eliminate it. Flu infects close to 1 billion (not an error) people each year and kills half a million each year. Yet we have never seen a reaction to the flu like this current reaction. The increase of media and social media with 24 hour constant news makes reactions like this more likely to get worse. Paranoia is rampant. We need cool heads and simple precautions to manage it all.

Good point Richard

Influenza associated deaths last year in Australia was over 4000 people, yet the hype around COVID-19 has stopped our economy and sent thousands of businesses to the wall. No doubt that the quick and excellent response from the Australian government initially has slowed the spread, but the economy needs to open up and give the country a chance to recover.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 130

AussieinLondon, mandatory vaccines? I don't think so. Sounds like a mass experiment to me.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

No-one is suggesting mandatory vaccines. We haven't got anywhere near having a vaccine at all.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 130

RBC, actually many people including that poster ARE advocating mandatory vaccines for travel. I've known about this plan for several years, and this is the perfect pretext to implement them. Even Bill Gates has said: in the future, to get on a plane you'll need to be vaccinated.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

Vaccination requirement for travel are already in place, notably yellow fever. Vaccination as a condition for travel is completely different from mandatory vaccination.

There's a lot of unscientific anti-vaxxer mentality hanging around the edges of this discussion.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 130

RBC, believing that vaccines saved the world is itself a delusion. It's all faith based. Nothing scientific about injecting aluminium adjuvants and mercury. Get educated instead of spouting off propaganda. Same to you AussieInLondon. You've definitely drunk the kool aid.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

Oh dear.

@thefreqflyer I wasn't advocating mandatory vaccines, merely stating that until there is a vaccine and it is administered widely, there can't be certainty that Covid is eliminated. And even then, it's likely that you'd need to get the vaccination annually, like with the flu.

I also agree with RBC that mandatory vaccines requirements already exist re other diseases, so this antivax / Bill Gates conspiracy theory nonsense is just that, nonsense.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 130

It's not a conspiracy theory, it comes from the horses mouth. Clearly you've never watched a video of Bill Gates speaking. A guy with no medical qualifications who thinks he can tell us what to do.

RBC, you obviously don't know the meaning of mandatory: as in compulsory. IF a covid and/or a list of other vaccines are required to get on a plane, that implies they are MANDATORY for the purposes of travel, with no opt outs available.

The yellow fever and MMR vaccination requirements applying to various countries are very specific depending on your passport nationality (Africans are often singled out at Asian airports to show a yellow fever certificate) or where your journey originates (again, Africa/Latin America). For MMR, this applies to several Pacific islander nations since 2019.

21 Jun 2020

Total posts 5

Australians spent more than $65 billion on overseas holidays last year and the Government wants some of that money spent domestically instead.

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

catch is I only have January off

might never be a vaccine. Plenty of viruses that have been around for decades have no vaccine. The only people dying are unhealthy, like old people. Open all borders now, or there will soon be civil war & pollies will be in firing line for stuffing things up so badly for what ?

17 Apr 2016

Total posts 15

So you're quite comfortable killing off the old people are you? Old age is coming to you...fast, see if you change your mind then!

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

not killing old people prematurely, but rather lock them down. They won't be travelling. This is what should have been done in the 1st place. Healthy people haven't died.

21 Dec 2016

Total posts 17

That is simply untrue. I am in New York and many, many "healthy" people have died.

03 Feb 2018

Total posts 70

@njoe4

"That is simply untrue. I am in New York and many, many "healthy" people have died."

Exactly. It's a horrific virus and still quite capable of killing the young and healthy.

I suppose Australia can be thankful it's in a position whereby its citizens think COVID is some kind of a joke/conspiracy and tell blatant lies to prop up such a charade. But it's horrifying to read that, nevertheless. All the best to you and the people in New York. You guys have suffered terribly.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

14 Jul 2017

Total posts 15

Hi SQorQF, I'm in Colorado. Governor Cuomo's performance with regard to old people homes is shameful. Had he 'locked down' the aged homes the death toll would be much lower (as in Florida). Protect the old and venerable and let the rest 'run free', with sensible precautions. We all have jobs and need to make a buck to pay our bills. The death toll among young healthy people is so low as not to be statistically measurable. You, nor I, know of the associated health issues with the younger people who have, sadly, died from this (nor should we). Let individuals make their own decisions on how to protect themselves and others. If you are not comfortable going out, make the decision to stay home yourself. Remember those scary words "I'm from the government, I'm here to help". President Reagan was spot on with this comment. Stop allowing governments to do stuff to us rather than for us. I feel for the people I had to fire in AU because I could not get back there to run my business. Not being able to leave AU to come home meant I took the hard decision.

03 Feb 2018

Total posts 70

@MikeAir

I'm sorry if things are going badly in your part of the world. I've been following the situation Stateside with horror.

"Governor Cuomo's performance with regard to old people homes is shameful. Had he 'locked down' the aged homes the death toll would be much lower (as in Florida). Protect the old and venerable and let the rest 'run free', with sensible precautions."

It doesn't work that way. And there's empirical evidence to prove it. Please forgive me for copying and pasting my comment to another poster. Sweden is a case in point. It took the approach you're advocating and its elderly are paying the price. Who do you think cares for the elderly and immunocompromised? Other elderly and immunocompromised?

It's not possible to lock down just the elderly and immunocompromised while everybody else goes about business as usual. People in this situation need carers, who come into contact with the rest of the infectious masses. And the elderly in the Western World often live in care homes. So disease spreads like wildfire.

I recall in March or thereabouts, somebody, possibly an American virologist, responding to Sweden's ideas of protecting its elderly by saying - what are they going to do? Keep them in bubble wrap?

Fast forward several months and Sweden, with relatively low population density, has suffered nearly 500 deaths per million of its population. Its elderly population has been hit extremely hard. This is a tragedy. These are real people whose lives could have been saved.

"Let individuals make their own decisions on how to protect themselves and others."

Again, it doesn't work that way. The at-risk typically need the help of the outside world. And highly-infectious viruses don't distinguish between those who are protecting themselves and those who aren't.

"Remember those scary words "I'm from the government, I'm here to help".

I'm a liberal who subscribes, to a great extent, to the ideas of John Locke and J.S. Mill. I do not trust the state. I think the individual's rights are sacrosanct and override the powers of the state. To that end, we have Locke's inalienable ''natural rights'' (of ''life, liberty, and property'') which have been enshrined in the UDHR and ICCPR.

Does temporary lockdown contravene the principles of UDHR and ICCPR? No, it doesn't. If it did, you'd have a point. But, imo, it doesn't.

Does letting the virus run riot contravene these principles? You betcha. Every individual has the right to ''life'' - this is put in danger by letting business run as usual. Too many otherwise preventable deaths have occurred.

These restrictions are a temporary state until clinical treatment to deal with COVID is found. It's not forever.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

14 Jul 2017

Total posts 15

Thanks SQorQF (SQ gets my vote BTW). It is perfectly possible to 'lockdown Aged homes. We have done that in Colorado to great success with our Democrat Governor. The vast bulk of deaths in CO have been aged people with other serious health issues. The residents of our aged homes are cared for by carers who are suitably protected in the service of the residents. Residents have not caught the virus from the carers, just as no medical practitioner in any Denver hospital has caught the virus from a patient.

As a former Kiwi I guess I'm a little left of centre, but we appear to have lost our mind with this virus. Having spent 6 years in China before I arrived here [Denver] I'm adamant that I don't want to be controlled by the state in every aspect of my life. Especially in relation to my freedom of movement. I'm old enough to make my own decisions (The crack of mothers wrath is long since forgotten). As a considerate and caring human being I'm confident I don't need the government to tell me how to behave.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

Locking down care homes means locking down their staff and depriving them of contact with family and friends. It means depriving the residents of all future contact with their own families. Seems pretty cruel all round.

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

maybe you have a different idea of what is healthy

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

but are the young

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

maybe your idea of healthy is not same as mine.

As we get older our immune system deteriorates, so you are unhealthy.

Were any that died overweight, underweight, on cancer treatments, or some other medical condition ? If so, they were unhealthy.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 56

Supertech, that is such a crass thing to say. In no way was regular flyer advocating that! Comments such as yours do not help the discussion on the best way through this for everyone. They are just inflammatory. Older people or those with underlying health conditions should take more precautions as they see fit but not blanket impositions which adversely impact all those who wish to live life fully.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

Read the evidence. People who recover are often severely affected. It's not 'just' the old and unhealthy.

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

it's not just the old

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

not sure that anyone healthy has died

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 130

regular flyer, great to see a rational voice on here for a change.

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

17 Oct 2018

Total posts 5

It's not a unique position. There are many other places that have done very well.

19 Jun 2020

Total posts 3

Our government's strategy of waiting for a vaccine is fundamentally flawed. To date there has not been a single successful coronavirus vaccine developed. They tried and failed for MERS-CoV. They tried for SARS, and developed a vaccine which INCREASED mortality. Waiting for a vaccine is simply not a strategy. They need to concentrate on owning the situation and developing viable and practical public health measures to combat viral spread whilst allowing a modicum of normal life to continue. Simply pulling up the drawbridge and waiting for something that may never happen is ridiculous and likely to do more harm than good both to public health and the economy in the medium to long term. The concept of a future vaccine needs to be treated as a potential bonus, not the lynchpin of a national "strategy".

03 Feb 2018

Total posts 70

@GreenFlagon

"Our government's strategy of waiting for a vaccine is fundamentally flawed.... The concept of a future vaccine needs to be treated as a potential bonus, not the lynchpin of a national "strategy"."

With respect, I think you may have a flawed understanding of the govt strategy. My inference is that they're not waiting for a vaccine. They're waiting for sufficient clinical ability to treat COVID with an very high success rate among critical patients and for medication to be developed to halt COVID in its track during the early stages.

These things are far less unattainable, in the short term, than a vaccine.

The problem is only, in part, lack of a vaccine. The reason COVID-19 is so dangerous is because a lack of clinical knowledge and treatment. If almost everybody in an at-risk category who got COVID neither died nor ended up in ICU, then it wouldn't be unduly dangerous.

Up until the other week, there wasn't much in the way of knowledge on how to treat COVID. Next to nothing in the way of medication (although Remdesivir and others are being trialled). Now they have used an anti-inflammatory called Dexamethosone which is very helpful for seriously-ill patients. It cut fatality rates by one-third. With effective antiviral treatment for )both critically-ill and mild) patients, then society will be able to go back to some kind of normality.

"They tried for SARS, and developed a vaccine which INCREASED mortality."

Actually, Nikolai Petrovsky's team were making great progress in creating a SARS vaccine. But it went away and the US cut their funding. Necessity is the mother of invention and all that.

03 Feb 2018

Total posts 70

While a vaccine is some way away, the good news is that a huge breakthrough has been made in treating COVID-19. In the UK, they've ''repurposed'' the steroid dexamethasone to treat critically-ill patients. Apparently, it has improved survival rates by about one-third.

I can understand the closing of borders and, to a lesser extent, the travel ban in the interests of stopping the virus from taking hold in Australia. The lesson from other parts of the world is to stay several steps ahead of the curve. Even if ICU capacity isn't exhausted, it appears that fatality rates (CFR measure) are far higher in countries with high incidence of COVID than countries with low incidence of COVID. So the argument for shutting up shop is extremely sound, in the interests of saving as many lives as possible (even though this has adverse economic consequences).

Basically, we need a situation whereby the elderly COVID patients, the immunocompromised COVID patients and those COVID patients with underlying health conditions will almost certainly survive the disease.


To get there, we need the clinical treatment. This anti-inflammatory drug (for the seriously-ill) is a HUGE breakthrough. If they can find an antiviral treatment for the seriously ill which treats the kind of viral pneumonia that presents, that'd be another huge win. And finally, an antiviral drug to treat the virus when its mild, stopping it from replicating and going south. When those sort of things are in play - life can go back to normal, I reckon.

BUT WELL DONE OXFORD RESEARCHERS!!!! AMAZING WORK :))))))))))))))

21 Dec 2016

Total posts 17

The whole notion of air bridges and travel bubbles seems a little crazy when we have a test for the virus, which can be provided a couple of days before departure and made as a requirement for entry. Yes, there is a risk that someone might be infected after the test and before departure. No, the tests aren't perfect. But would we seriously be happier letting a Singapore resident in with no test, or an American or European in with a negative test?

When our government talks about relying "on the science", then a negative test is about the best we're going to get, unless Australia keeps its borders closed until there's vaccine or eradication. Neither seem like terribly palatable options.

22 Dec 2017

Total posts 25

There is an incubation period of up to 14 days. The testing will not detect the virus while it is incubating.

21 Dec 2016

Total posts 17

But then what is the purpose of a 14 day quarantine, either, if you have just arrived on an airplane and it might be incubating for your entire quarantine?

I don't disagree with your point, I just think that with a 40% false negative provided up to 4 days after exposure, there are other ways of mitigating risk via testing than creating bubbles that are based on statistical generalities...

23 Apr 2020

Total posts 6

PCR test detects majority of cases pretty early in the cycle - by day 2 or 3 - so are very useful in significantly reducing risk. Already becoming fairly wide practice - e.g. Iceland - pay for PCR on arrival and receive results via SMS in a few hours; Austria - PCR on arrival; Tahiti - PCR prior to departure etc. Something of a moral dilemma in some cases though as there is a global shortage of PCR test kits meaning some poorer countries may be crowded out if travel results in a huge increase in testing.

03 Feb 2018

Total posts 70

@noopr

I can't post links but PCR are far from flawless in real-world conditions. In theory, fantastically accurate. In practice, so many things go wrong as a result of ''preanalytical and analytical factors''. There's an article by Maureen Ferran in the Conversation, entitled "Coronavirus Tests are pretty accurate but far from perfect" from 6 May, 2020.

She draws on quite a bit of research. She writes ''...clinical sensitivity of RT-PCR tests ranges from 66% to 80%. This means nearly one in three infected people who are tested will receive false negative results''.

So PCRs are very helpful for diagnosis but not where they need to be if you're committed to keeping COVID out. It all depends on the aims of the government, I guess.

Agree with you that it creates a moral dilemma if rich countries have all the testing kits. I fear a similar thing will happen with the vaccine if/when it comes.

21 Dec 2016

Total posts 17

PS - I would add that, as of today, Singapore has a higher infection rate per capita than the United States, or any country in Europe.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 479

I wonder if they kept numbers on flu cases and deaths we'd be shut down for the next decade. PS we have a vaccine for flu too.

22 Dec 2017

Total posts 25

COVID is on average 10 times more deadly than pandemic influenza. In the elderly, up to 100 times more deadly.

LP
LP

30 Jun 2016

Total posts 49

and with a higher reproductive rate also spreads through the community much more rapidly than the flu

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 56

Flu for the elderly is just as dangerous. The big difference is that the categorisation of death is not the flu but their underlying health condition they had when also contracting the flu which pushed them to their demise. With Covid, the underlying health condition is not used as the reason for death in many cases. I have first hand knowledge and experience with both sides of this with relatives in the UK. A nursing home had 9 deaths in just under three weeks because of a flu epidemic a few years back. 1 out of the 9 was classified as flu. The actual number was 9 out of 9. In the last few months a very ill relative who had not long to live had Covid attributed to their death. Wrong. They just happened to have it when they died. It did not kill them.

in australia, it's much more dangerous driving. Are we going to reduce speed limits to 50kph on highways ?

03 Feb 2018

Total posts 70

@regular flyer

"in australia, it's much more dangerous driving. Are we going to reduce speed limits to 50kph on highways ?"

Sorry but this is too absurd for words. It's only more dangerous to drive (in Australia) as a result of plenty of success in eliminating community transmission of COVID.

You're also culpable of the false equivalence fallacy. The pattern is that countries with high incidence of COVID have much higher CFR (e.g. the UK). The COVID mortality rate varies between 1-15% in countries that have been badly hit.

If one out of a hundred people driving at 100km/h on the highway their life, of course the speed limit would be reduced. Never mind fifteen out of a hundred people.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 130

regular flyer, excellent point. Knowing the nanny state mentality of Australian governments, which has the world's strictest traffic laws, I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually reduce speed limits to ridiculously low levels on highways as a pretext to bring down an already low road toll.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 56

Joe, you are 100% correct!

06 Mar 2018

Total posts 7

Why a travel corridor with Singapore, with hundreds of new cases everyday, and not with Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan or Thailand, with zero or single digit cases daily?

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 56

Because Singapore understands the cases it has. Once the worker dormitories are under control, Singapore has infection rates very low and similar to Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

17 Oct 2018

Total posts 5

And HK!!

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 130

Richard W, no, it's because Singapore and Australia have a strange brotherly love for each other.

Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan have far fewer cases so if this virus is as deadly as is being claimed, Singapore should be out for some time. Besides, what's so important about Singapore? It's a tiny country mostly services based economy. Corporate travel to that country is a waste of time. Just hold meetings on Zoom or Skype.

18 Jun 2020

Total posts 4

Im a UK citizen with Oz passport. Whilst I agree with the quarantine procedures on entering Australia , Im infuriated

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 56

I am a UK and Australian citizen. It is not correct to stop me from leaving the country if I choose to do so. I accept any cost for tests or quarantine and will isolate as needed upon return but to actually stop me is wrong.

18 Jun 2020

Total posts 4

Im the same position , im livid that we are being imprisoned here , Im sure this is not lawful and against civil/human rights.

I am prepared to stand up against this and start a petition, anything !

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 56

Letmeout - I have already written to my MP but it takes a lot more than a lone voice.

Sas
Sas

18 Jun 2020

Total posts 5

I think I will do the same Richard W.

18 Jun 2020

Total posts 4

Lets start a movement !

I have written to my local MP and many other politicians,of course no responses, its also impossible to get through to the home office .

My son is a paramedic for London Ambulance service I too have first hand knowledge of the false number of deaths they are relating to Covid19.

More to the point though , people with dual citizenship cannot and should not be prohibited from LEAVING !

03 Feb 2018

Total posts 70

@Letmeout

"Im sure this is not lawful and against civil/human rights...More to the point though , people with dual citizenship cannot and should not be prohibited from LEAVING !"

Then you're mistaken. It's perfectly lawful. There's no right, in Commonwealth law, to leave the country (dual citizen or otherwise).

Moreover, the travel ban (as a policy) doesn't breach human rights laws/standards. The relevant treaty is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. While the ICCPR does enshrine the right to leave one's own country, it then adds a provision giving the state the ability to restrict this right during a public health emergency, among other things. A pandemic activates that provision and means that the state can stop its citizens (even those with multiple citizenships) from leaving the country without violating human rights, prima facie.

21 Dec 2016

Total posts 17

But only Australia, in the world of western democracies, is actually preventing their citizens from leaving the country without getting permission from the Central Committee...I mean, the Politburo....I mean...who?

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that banning your own citizens from leaving their country is helpful, when you have an incoming ban, a quarantine for those exempted, and minimal air travel as it is, due to restrictions worldwide. It is an infringement of civil liberties, disguised as science.

03 Feb 2018

Total posts 70

@nyjoe4

"There is no scientific evidence to suggest that banning your own citizens from leaving their country is helpful, when you have an incoming ban, a quarantine for those exempted, and minimal air travel as it is, due to restrictions worldwide. It is an infringement of civil liberties, disguised as science."

The question was about the lawfulness of the ban and whether it complies with international human rights treaties. Perfectly lawful and in compliance with the ICCPR. It restricts civil liberties... but in a manner that is consistent with the provisions of the ICCPR.

As for the scientific justification... I'm not arguing that point. I agree 100% with the quarantining of inbound passengers. I think the ideal situation would be one whereby you must either secure an exemption or pay a bond, in advance, for the cost of your quarantining.

There are people who, rightly, point out that even quarantining brings the risk of reintroducing COVID. As happened with a couple of hotel workers. So I can perceive a scientific justification. Imo, that's being overzealous, though.

But, aside from this, I'm happy with how Australia has handled COVID, overall. And this travel ban, however controversial, doesn't constitute a violation of human rights, prima facie.

The actual infringement of civil liberties, at the hands of the Australian state, are concentrated on Nauru, Manus Island and in a specific courtroom in Canberra behind closed doors.

you can get on a flight to UK anytime. Just state a reason. Home quarantine in UK is not even being enforced.

18 Jun 2020

Total posts 4

Not quite true sadly or I would be gone ! Need a letter of exemption with limited reasons for wanting to leave, apparently they refuse most, I know this from contact with people that have tried or are in the process of trying to be released ! More to the point is the fact that we are being told we cannot leave , even with passport from home Country . Do look up other Countries in the World that currently have restrictions on their residents leaving its quite interesting, North Korea being one of them.

Welcome to the Hotel California......

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

make it up. You'll only dealing with a lowly public servant (BTW all public servants are lowly-can't get a real job)

18 Jun 2020

Total posts 1

Covid 19 the worst thing that never happened to Australia.

The fact Australia hasn't seen any real community epidemic, may well have consigned its future international tourism and a big section of the economy to desolation. Mark McGowan and many other prominent politicians while revelling in their own shrewd governance are basking in parochial adulation mindful only of their own future political election, seemingly oblivious of the peril they are steering full speed ahead towards.

While the rest of the world is doing all in its power to slowly but surely getting back to full operation Australias success in not having the virus at all, has put it full steam ahead into an isolationist policy iceberg. There is no talk of getting the economy back to full operation, instead just of refusing to allow borders to be open so we never get the dreaded virus at all. What this literally translates into is real politicians sending the message to the rest of the world that keeping Australia as an isolated bastion is the only aim for the foreseeable future.

This is great if your only aim is never letting the virus in, unfortunately in order to do this two things must happen;

1.You stop your people from leaving the country.

2.You stop foreigners from entering your country.

Call me old fashioned but I didn't come to this country to give up my human rights of travel but that is what I am now required to do if I want to remain in the peoples republic of Australia, (in reality more similar in policy to a closed communist state like North Korea than to any free western democracy).

So here is the problem which is now going to sink much of the Australian economy and any future tourism or healthy appetite for travel from locals or foreigners alike. It appears that any opening of the borders has to be dependant on Australia never getting the virus while the rest of world now accepts that mitigation and management of the virus is the only real option to enable any form of real life returning.

We already know that air travel will be more expensive in the future as many airlines have gone under and therefore the supply will be down. Now think of the number of airlines that are likely to fly to Australia with the knowledge that the Australian government are unlikely to open the borders. I doubt few airlines will even try. Add the message to the rest of the world that “we don't want you to come” with the fact that it will cost much more to get here and even if you can get a flight who knows when it will be permitted. Australia as an international destination is off the agenda for all foreign tourists. Not to mention the lack of option for locals to be released from there involuntary incarceration.

So not having the virus could be the worst thing to happen to these shores in decades. Had the virus been on the ground we would have been doing what all the rest of the world is doing and trying to slowly open everything up and get back to normality. Instead we are looking inwards at forcing the local population to stay and do their “patriotic duty” and spending their tourist dollars here! An instruction much more like something from the Kim Jong Un regime than a western democracy.

The parochial local population are cheering the government on in a very naive inward looking, suicidal way. They are so happy not to get the corona virus that they do not realise it is costing them their liberty and Australias future economical and tourism success. The HMAS Australia is heading towards the iceberg of isolation which could assign its future to the bottom of the tourism ocean where only intrepid explorers even bother to attempt to visit – lets hope our triumphant political captains wake up to the damage they are about to inflict on to their unsuspecting passengers who are busy dancing in the ballroom of their unsinkable virus free ship!

Chapter and verse. Unfortunately, lots of Australians revel in isolationism, in the idea of safety and protection from the outside, that bad things only happen in that mysterious and forbidding "overseas". The reaction to Covid plays perfectly into that narrative.

03 Feb 2018

Total posts 70

@AussieInLondon

"Unfortunately, lots of Australians revel in isolationism"

Yep. However, the traditional isolationists are advocating open borders. Pauline Hanson, the gold standard of Australian isolation and bogandom, wants open borders.

Whereas the majority of people who actually work in healthcare (not likely to be isolationist) want strict control over things until clinical knowledge exists to treat COVID effectively.

The problem is that there's very little knowledge in terms of how to treat this incredibly infectious virus. To reasonable people, it's got nothing to do with isolation or an inter-connected world. The whole world is at something of a standstill until the knowledge exists in how to treat COVID.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 56

Murrayp - The best article written on this subject. I wish I could buy you a beer to show my agreement. Maybe you can run for PM please?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Apr 2020

Total posts 2

Couldn't agree more.

Sas
Sas

18 Jun 2020

Total posts 5

For many people it is not about having a holiday, it is about being forcibly separated from loved ones with families split apart by the closed border. People have been separated from spouses, partners, parents, children etc for months on end and now they have to endure this into 2021? It is devastating for people, surely there is a sensible way of managing the risks of some movement across the border with testing, quarantine, passing on costs etc to travellers. The government is lazy and unnecessarily absolutist in its approach.

19 Jun 2020

Total posts 1

I couldn't agree more. I hardly know my own country anymore, we have become a nation of timid followers who believe whatever the fear mongering media is serving up.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 56

Finally today, I am reading opinions which mirror my own. I was beginning to think I was alone !!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Apr 2020

Total posts 2

It is so refreshing and encouraging to read sentiments that reflect my own. Thank you.

08 May 2020

Total posts 41

Too much Government assistance ensures that there are too many people and Premiers opposing to open Australian & International Borders. There are now many ways to protect. We are nowhere near our annual Flu cases which can be more deadly than Covid 19 so far. Any Traveller coming and leaving is to provide an updated health ( Tested) card 2-3 Days prior and denied Boarding if in doubt of infection.

Open international up to a limited number to start e/g 1000 - 2000 per Day for a month to limited Countries.

just read how UK & many EU countries have a 14 day home quarantine, but not enforcing it. Corona has been extremely overplayed. The whole world should not have been locked down, only those with poor immune systems like elderly & others.

03 Feb 2018

Total posts 70

@regular flyer

"The whole world should not have been locked down, only those with poor immune systems like elderly & others."

It simply doesn't work that way. Sweden is a case in point. It took the approach you're advocating and its elderly are paying the price. Who do you think cares for the elderly and immunocompromised? Other elderly and immunocompromised?

It's not possible to lock down just the elderly and immunocompromised while everybody else goes about business as usual. People in this situation need carers, who come into contact with the rest of the infectious masses. And the elderly in the Western World often live in care homes. So disease spreads like wildfire.

I recall in March or thereabouts, somebody, possibly an American virologist, responding to Sweden's ideas of protecting its elderly by saying - what are they going to do? Keep them in bubble wrap?

Fast forward several months and Sweden, with relatively low population density, has suffered nearly 500 deaths per million of its population. Its elderly population has been hit extremely hard. This is a tragedy. These are real people whose lives could have been saved.

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 50

You are most definitely not alone, my friend. I am still sticking with my original instincts from the beginning of all of this heavy-handed strategy, in believing that there is more to this than the purely medical. At its most benign, there seems to be this fantasy of waiting until there is not a single COVID bug remaining live in Australia. But that leads on to the fear of importing the thing again off travellers coming in. There is simply no way out of that.

To all the medicos participating in this forum, who have taken me to task before: I agree. Now is not the time to try to go off on that skiing holiday or beach frolic (having said that, I'd love Thailand specifically, to open up a green-lane or bubble or whatever they want to call it, with Australia). As things stand, the way airline service standards look like heading, it's not something you'd want to do for 12 - 24 hours at a stretch if you really didn't need to. So all the Docs out there, OK. Are you all happy I've made that clear? Good.

Preventing families scattered around the world from being reunited, except for the relatively few who have been granted exceptions after jumping through multiple hoops, is barbaric. As for the great number of our lazy, contented and frankly zombie-like perhaps isolationist fellow-citizens, a quote from a recent article I read, goes: “freedom is something you either believe in, or you don't”.

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 50

@regular flyer... “get on a plane to the UK anytime. Just state a reason”. Please have a read of the long-running “Border Force” discussion, and read about the delays, personal stresses, refusals, lack of timely yes/no result, lack of recourse or post-submittal contact. You'll see that it is not a simple matter of “providing a reason”. If only it were.

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

airbear, you just need to tell them what they want to hear. I can think of 10 reasons I have to go

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 56

Please share them!

Sas
Sas

18 Jun 2020

Total posts 5

If you are an Australian permanent resident or citizen there are extremely limited exemptions you can apply for to exit Australia. I.e. a compelling compassionate reason, the national interest, providing medical aid overseas. The Govt is taking a heavy handed approach and there is no recourse for people. If only it was as easy as just dreaming up some reasons!

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 50

skier, again; have you read the tales of woe in that "Border Force" discussion? You can certainly tell them what they want to hear, but you need to provide documentation and other forms of proof, then sweat and bleed some until you have an answer whilst your booked flight date approaches, without a response. As the saying goes: 'that's no way to run a railroad".

17 Apr 2016

Total posts 15

I suspect that the majority of these comments are written by people who have never contracted Covid19 and I wonder if they had, would it change their opinion? It all boils down to how much risk you are prepared to take in order to travel. I had a cruise booked on the Westerdam, it didn't sail, I then booked on QM2 it cancelled the morning of departure, and a cruise later next month is also cancelled. I am very pleased that I am safe in WA, and can look forward to travel when it's safe to do so.

It has dealt a blow to the economy, but we will get over it, let's be so thankful that we are living in such a wonderful country, with first class health care. It has also shown us how good we are at responding to a crisis, and stepping up to help our friends and neighbours.

I like the comments here, mirrors alot of how i feel

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 50

@regular flyer, as regards other country's non-enforcement of 14-day quarantine, one of my favourite approaches to this issue would be that of the Canadian government. They are enforcing the quarantine, but not necessarily packing you off to a government-contracted hotel from the get-go. Their rule is that upon arrival you "should have a credible plan of your own" for your 14-day stint. If not (in the opinion of the Border official you are dealing with on entry), they will then make you take what they offer. That's fairness in action, IMO.

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 50

@letmeout... I'd certainly be in on a “movement”, as you call it. Trouble is that as you've discovered, letters to MPs don't get answered since they are in truth only answerable to their Party on anything more crucial than an invite to judge a cake stall competition at the local school fete. Then, the general media are useless, and largely complicit. So from this point, where does one turn to?

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

17 Oct 2018

Total posts 5

Why is Hong Kong NEVER mentioned re the bubble? 1,100 cases and only 4 deaths - and non since mid-March! There are 100,000 Australians in HK. Singapore should NOT be before HK, Taiwan, Vietnam etc!

15 Aug 2018

Total posts 7

Agree 100%

15 Aug 2018

Total posts 7

We now live in the Soviet Union or East Germany - exit visa required!

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 50

Hey! I've just put another country on my wish list for “bubble status” (and dual citizenship, too). That country is .... (drum roll...) MALTA! I just read that last week, the govt of Malta gave adult citizens €100 each, specifically to spend in bars. Seriously! What a country!

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 2


My partner is Australian and i live in malta for work.

To get married i have to wait until 2021, i hope to reopen the flights with the right precautions, Malta has given 100 euro to the citizens, but they have thrown many people out of the city, because they have not given the visas, and my partner and one of them,

Australia helps Maltese citizens Malta does not help Australian citizens.

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 2

I don't know if I will be able to endure all this time, and our son without seeing his father until 2021, is cruel even if correct, but to separate from loved ones and how to destroy the heart

12 Jun 2020

Total posts 9

The travel ban needs to be decreased to a do not travel advisory, as it is in NZ. According to polling results, the majority of Aussies are actually too afraid to travel overseas due to the virus. I think the Govt was right to put the ban in place initially because people weren't getting the message, but months later it's time to stop treating citizens like children who need to be corralled into the playpen.

The system in place now to process exemptions for people who have legitimate reasons to leave isn't working. The people needing to travel are, for the most part, desperate to return to family and spouses overseas, and businesses, studies etc. Not tourists.

08 May 2020

Total posts 41

There are at least 2 testing procedures which could allow a person to travel when certified. Swop test as well as a Urine test to provide a 3 -4 week certificate. the chances to slip thru that Net would be very minimal and allows people who want to travel the freedom to do so to selected Countries. I would be more than prepared to obtain such a Certificate but we have politics with just blanket NO's.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 130

melbelle, the bigger issue is WHICH countries will let Aussies in? The whole world is closed and starting next month, only a select few will open, the vast majority with VERY stringent criteria. I wouldn't dare travel overseas due to these circumstances. The "virus" hardly even registers on my consciousness. The travel restrictions/outright bans, totally unprecedented in history, are what concerns me. 500 years ago it was easier to travel abroad than it is now, barring the obvious lack of airlines, trains and cars of course. But unlike today, you could wonder into just about any country you wished.

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 50

@MikeAir... BRAVO!!! Well said.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

Wow, I thought international travellers were a bit cleverer than the average, but clearly I was wrong. Don't you guys get it? Covid-19 kills lots of people (not "just" the elderly, though the cheerful dismissal of our older relatives is pretty disgusting). It maims large numbers of people. It has a death rate four times that of a bad flu epidemic, and it's barely got going. In terms of global public health, it's taking us back to the life expectancy of the 1950s.

As it happens, our otherwise bumbling government got it more or less right and closed the borders. We have dodged a bullet, and now you guys want to throw it away on in essential travel. Virtually all travel is discretionary -- you don't *need* to go skiing, you don't *need* to close a deal face to face. You don't even *need* to go to a funeral if it's going to end up killing other people's family members. Get real.

03 Feb 2018

Total posts 70

@RBC

I know. It's kinda disconcerting. Then again, maybe, Australia has become a victim of success.

Before the restrictions were implemented, I recall it being predicted that if people start chucking tanties (what virus? Not even dangerous), that'd be a sign that it was working very well.

Policymaking during a pandemic is a thankless task. But at least deaths have been prevented.

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

NO, only the unhealthy die !!!

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

A large part of the population is unhealthy in one way or another. Are you happy for them to die?

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

what a stupid thing to say. You simply isolate them.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 130

Skier - you are correct. But tell me, which foreign country you plan to visit will let you in right now? I can't think of more than a few (almost all of them western democracies), and even they have conditions.

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

none right now, but quite a few in few months

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 130

RBC - you've got it the wrong way round. FOREIGNERS are BANNED from entering MOST countries right now. Check the rules. That's the main reason why travelling overseas at this time, is ill advised, if not IMPOSSIBLE. There are also NO flights. How is an Aussie going to get to Thailand? There are NO flights from Australia to Thailand right now. Even if there were, there is an entry ban on foreigners (except work permit holders and foreigners married to locals). Both categories, and even Thai citizens, need to seek approval before booking a flight through the Thai consulate/embassy. AND there is a MANDATORY 14 day quarantine on arrival.

NEARLY every other country, Vietnam, China, you name it, have similar rules in place. Foreigners CAN'T enter other countries right now.

Aussies can MAYBE reach the USA/Canada/New Zealand and Europe/UK depending on their circumstances and individual rules of these countries, but as far as I'm aware, even New Zealand isn't allowing Aussies, other than residents in.

No one cares about this "virus". What we're looking at are the travel bans in place. Realistically, unrestricted travel is NOT returning until October, or possibly next year at the earliest. A couple of months ago, I thought we'd be seeing a return to freedom of movement by around July. My prediction was a bit hasty. Now I can see this thing is being dragged out a lot longer than I had ever imagined. I wouldn't be surprised if international travel doesn't resume until 2022. And when it does, how does being tracked, having a swab test taken 5 times during your stay, immediately being bused to your hotel, not being allowed to roam freely around your destination country sound? Because that's exactly what many countries have envisioned, at least in the first stages, once they slowly start lifting their incoming travel bans.

I laugh at the naivety of some posters on here. You guys have no idea how much this "pandemic" will change the world forever. There is every chance, normal travel will NEVER get back to the way it was.

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 50

@RBC... “it's barely got going”... please elaborate on your evidence for this statement.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

Numbers rising in Latin America, Africa, India, several southern states of the US, no evidence of herd immunity or of diminished contagiousness; new infections in China and Korea. We are in a slight trough thanks to the earlier lockdown.

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 50

@RBC. OK, thanks.

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 50

@sq or qf… You can feel honoured that I did you the courtesy of actually printing out your response to me, so that I could read it more carefully & make notes in the margin. In the meantime, I read your response to @MikeAir, and admit to being very surprised that you claim to broadly agree with Locke and Mill, and have distrust the state. In which case, what on earth makes you so sure this travel ban is only temporary?


My bottom line is that the democratically elected government of a notionally democratic country with a bedrock commitment to freedom, would not - even under the duress of a pandemic - demand exit visas, which is what all the ABF procedures amount to. If it was such a great idea, why is Australia the only such country to forbid - various exemptions notwithstanding - their citizens and others, to leave? As has also been pointed out by someone else, we are not in great company in doing this. But it is abundantly clear that this government has no such bedrock commitment. By all means, do as every other country has done, and ban arrivals. That makes perfect sense. If it were me, I would also perhaps have barred citizens and PRs as well, but as you've pointed out in the other discussion, the UN values the right to return home, more highly than a right to leave, so that is a stronger “right”. I'm not sure your average East German between 1961 and 1990 would have agreed with that, either. And, btw, during that period (1977-1990) I was involved in business dealings with various state-owned export enterprises in that country, so over several visits, I know how things worked, how they lived (during trade fairs due to shortage of hotel rooms, we were billeted privately with “politically reliable” families). I don't want that here, thanks.


Briefly to your points a, b, c & d: a) I've covered that above. b) Yep. And??? They were the smart ones, IMO. For what little it matters now, it was a difficult enough decision for me at YVR in mid-March to get on that plane back to SYD. Had I even dreamt that our government might prevent me from leaving again, I most definitely would not have boarded the flight. My tourist visa was good until late August - plenty of time to try & work something more permanent out with the Canadians. c) Again… your point being?? As for Sweden, rather than displaying a “bedrock commitment to freedom” and to keeping their economy open, I've now read that it is possible that their country's Constitution might have prevented the government from acting in that way. d) We'll have to agree to disagree on that one, sorry. In today's by and large free-er world, making it as difficult as (in)humanly possible to get out does trample on one's rights. As I said earlier on, you can make a case for making travel advisories on the level of “seriously reconsider” for pure tourism purposes. As things are at the moment, it is hard to imagine that anyone would want to even try. Everywhere is still locked up tight, and the flights are miseries by all accounts. But travel for the purposes of family reunion or, say, funerals should be permitted quickly upon showing minimal proof to the airline staff at check in, without the involvement of the ABF, aside from the passport/boarding pass checks that have always been in place. Ito my way of thinking, in instances where married or engaged couples are prevented from being together, or reunited with children overseas, this business of making it as hard and nail biting as possible to wait for approval, let alone eventual refusal - all without any recourse - constitutes mental cruelty, which can be seen as a form or torture.


Finally, since you brought it up again here, and many times in the other discussion, I just want to say that a) there is no country on the planet that at some time or other HASN'T violated so-called human rights. There are no saints. b) as for Manus Island etc.: since you are a stickler for referencing the various international treaties to which we are notionally bound (or not), please correct me if I'm wrong, but most/many current detainees had already landed in “safe” countries such as Indonesia, before attempting to come to Australia by illegal means. As I see it, their treaty rights expired once they set foot in the country of transit prior to attempting to come to Australia.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

I'm afraid that you are paranoid. This government has no interest in keeping the borders closed except in the interests of public health. To believe otherwise is to import U.S.- style anti-state paranoia.

21 Dec 2016

Total posts 17

Except that there's no evidence of a public health benefit by not allowing your citizens to leave the country, if you are requiring quarantine on entry. The only benefit is a public treasury one. If you believe otherwise....

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

And just what public treasury benefit are you referring to?

21 Dec 2016

Total posts 17

The one that means that the government - ie the taxpayer - is paying for the quarantine when you return. Let's be honest - the real reason that the government doesn't want to let you out is that they don't want to pay for your quarantine to come back in. That's not paranoia.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 130

No, RBC, airbear raises a lot of valid points. You see the world in black and white. Myself and others like airbear use facts and rationality when we present our arguments.

Just to expand upon what airbear has written, indeed I know of few other countries that have prevented their citizens from leaving the country. That being said, some are refusing to even allow their own nationals to return at this time (I believe Vanuatu is one example), while others are letting in only their own citizens and diplomats in and NO foreigners, even those holding permanent residency (such as China) and later, also Thailand. The latter, after an approximate 6-8 week ban on all foreign arrivals started allowing work permit holders back in (theoretically, they were never banned, but due to the incoming flight ban, about the only work permit holders that could have made it back during April and May were those crossing a land border or arriving by private plane, since repatriation flights were only allowed to carry Thais at that time). Now permanent residency holders and foreigners with Thai families can return (but need to seek permission and make arrangements through the local embassy or consulate), while non-residents are still not allowed in.

And that's just one example. Vietnam is roughly the same, but even more stringent - family members of local citizens are still not allowed back at this time. Only certain categories of work permit holders can enter the country under strict conditions. Most other countries have some sort of ban on the entry of foreigners. As the EU starts lifting travel bans between member states, it's still unclear whether they are going to allow non-EU foreigners in and if they are, under what circumstances.

Unfortunately, I think we're heading into a far less free future. As the responses taken by various governments around the world have shown, never in human history have governments had this much control over their citizens and the enitre world at the same time. I am rather pessimistic about the world being able to get back to freedom of movement without pesky tracking devices, mandatory vaccines for travel, mandatory testing, mandatory mask wearing on board flights and in public spaces and the list goes on. Some of these are likely to be imposed and/or remain with us indefinitely when borders re-open.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

Not sure why you think I see the world in black and white, nor why you think I am not using facts.

I haven't addressed the issue of which countries may be willing to let us in. That's a separate question, and I agree that it complicates the issue.

I think you are right that we are headed into an era of much greater restriction on travel -- less travel will be permitted and it will be both more expensive and more monitored. Where we differ, perhaps, is in how much this restriction is driven by the nature of the pandemic (my view) vs how much it is driven by state desire to control (the view of some others on this site).

03 Feb 2018

Total posts 70

@airbear

"Finally, since you brought it up again here, and many times in the other discussion, I just want to say that a) there is no country on the planet that at some time or other HASN'T violated so-called human rights. There are no saints. b) as for Manus Island etc.: since you are a stickler for referencing the various international treaties to which we are notionally bound (or not), please correct me if I'm wrong, but most/many current detainees had already landed in “safe” countries such as Indonesia, before attempting to come to Australia by illegal means. As I see it, their treaty rights expired once they set foot in the country of transit prior to attempting to come to Australia."

''So-called human rights'', huh? The mask slips. You've basically proved my guesswork to be correct. This paragraph suggests that your more concerned with unrestricted freedom to travel wherever you please than you are with actual violations of human rights.

You believe that the people who have to apply for an exemption to leave Australia are victims of human rights violations? However, in the same breath, you reckon that the people illegally interned on Manus Island and Nauru don't have human rights?

There's no such thing as ''illegal immigration'' and no such thing as ''illegal boats''. As per the 1951 Refugee Convention and the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (1967), people have the right to make their way towards Australia, by vessel (illegal or otherwise), and to have their application processed. If they fit the criteria for the definition of ''refugee'', as per the aforementioned treaty, the state has an obligation to grant them asylum.

03 Feb 2018

Total posts 70

@airbear

"You can feel honoured that I did you the courtesy of actually printing out your response to me, so that I could read it more carefully & make notes in the margin. In the meantime, I read your response to @MikeAir, and admit to being very surprised that you claim to broadly agree with Locke and Mill, and have distrust the state. In which case, what on earth makes you so sure this travel ban is only temporary?"

Thanks. I'm honoured. Why am I sure the travel ban is only temporary? Cui bono?

You've hinted at something more sinister being behind the travel ban. Can you please elaborate?

What benefit does the state gain from having the travel ban in place a day longer than necessary? If you can suggest a compelling reason - I'm listening.

AFP raids of journalist offices - motive detected. Prosecution of intelligence officer whistleblower and their barrister (in closed courtroom) - motive detected. Metadata retention - motive detected. Keeping Australian citizens immured in Australia a day after COVID threat is, effectively, neutralised - NO motive detected.

It may astonish you that I subscribe to the views of John Locke and J.S. Mill. The fact of the matter is that the travel ban (with the option of exemptions) can be easily reconciled with both their views.

In On Liberty, Mill drew the distinction between ''harm'' and ''offence''. Where other individuals are harmed, the state can intervene. Have you not noticed that unchecked travel has does considerable ''harm'' to countless thousands of lives the world over. In Two Treatises of Government, Locke wrote that the most important role of the state is to protect (and not to infringe) the individual's ''natural rights'' of ''life, liberty, and property''). Here, the state is protecting the individual's right to ''life'' and, in so doing restricting the individual's ''liberty'' (remember, it was never ''absolute liberty'', as the individual forfeits certain aspects of ''absolute liberty'' in leaving the ''state of ''nature'', according to Locke).

So we need to ask ourselves - have individual's liberties been unduly restricted? Does Locke, or Mill, speak of unrestricted freedom of movement after submitting to the social contract? No (unless you can find evidence somewhere)

Moreover, Locke's ideas inform the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966). They, for all intents and purpose, enshrine his theory of natural rights.

Does the travel ban, in and of itself, during a pandemic violate the ICCPR? No, it does not. Therefore, from a Lockean perspective, it's a nuisance but acceptable.

03 Feb 2018

Total posts 70

@airbear

"this business of making it as hard and nail biting as possible to wait for approval, let alone eventual refusal - all without any recourse - constitutes mental cruelty, which can be seen as a form or torture."

Not according to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984), it doesn't.

In Article 1 of that treaty, it defines torture as

"any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions"

I think that the implementation of this policy has included distressing waits for some. Namely, those who genuinely need to go in a hurry who have been held hostage to bureaucratic incompetence and understaffing (nevertheless, the comments article would have us believe that most of those individuals have eventually gained their exemptions). But torture, it ain't.

I've also heard that the current “spike” in Victoria is government propaganda all centred around deflecting the media and attention away from the shameful “branch stacking” that's going on. I suppose we'll never really know.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

I've heard that the attention to branch stacking in Victoria (which is immoral, but not actually a crime) is intended to deflect attention from the Libs' sports rorts and robodebt scandals, which actually are crimes.

08 May 2020

Total posts 41

Why isn't anybody looking at some real reason why the Victorian cases are keeping creeping around and now have more and more Clusters. The mishandling by the Vic Gov Health handling of the Cedar meat has been a disgrace. Victoria was doing very well prior that but since Cedar it continuously had clusters. Why would you have Worksafe doing such investigation to find reason for the Cedar outbreak, you engage them if a scapegoat is needed.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

A few basics:

1. Covid-19 is a very serious disease: 3-5% who get it will die; 10-15% will need ICU; 30-40% will have the worst physical experience of their life. Survivors, even those whose symptoms were mild, will suffer varying degrees of fatigue, brain impairment, heightened risk of diabetes and respiratory illness. If you don't understand the seriousness of the disease, go and read about it. The elderly and those with reduced health (e.g. diabetes, hypertension) are at greatest risk, but the disease has significantly struck every age group except children. Anyone who says that it is a 'little flu' is either lying or deluded.

2. Covid-19 is significantly infectious. Being in a crowded space (a home, a bar, a restaurant, a classroom, a conference room) with an infectious person creates a serious risk of infection. The great problem is that we cannot easily identify who is infectious: the testing technology is imperfect (produces a significant number of false positives and false negatives) and people may be infectious while having no symptoms or only mild symptoms that resemble a common cold. This characteristic of the disease means that we cannot just respond to people who are identified as having the infection; broader social measures are necessary.

3. Countries that have done best, so far, are those which mandated social distancing, imposed lockdowns (of varying intensities) and instituted effective test and trace measures. None of these is 100% effective, but the clear evidence is that countries which took action early have been experienced lower rates of infection. Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Denmark are among these countries.

4. The idea that we should respond to the disease only by locking down care homes is flawed in two respects. First, as stated above, Covid-19 is not 'just' a disease of the elderly. Take out the elderly victims and Covid-19 is *still* a public health crisis. Second, people in care homes need care from others; unless we create a bubble that encloses the carers and their families and their friends, we cannot lock down the care homes.

5. All the historical evidence from past epidemics is that communities which prioritized public health emerged from the pandemic in better economic shape than those which prioritized economic activity.

6. Clearly, society cannot function if there is no human contact at all, so there is a legitimate discussion about what mix of measures is needed. The arrest of people for sitting alone on park benches was foolish at the time and is now known to be completely inappropriate. The risk of infection picked up from surfaces seems to be a lot less than was feared. There is still legitimate debate over the value of wearing face masks. Lifting restrictions as is being done in the U.S. and India, however, is leading to an increase in cases.

7. The very low rate of infection in Australia is a blessing. The risk of losing that blessing will increase with the scale of international travel. Quarantine is not a guarantee against introducing new cases from abroad because 14 days is not always sufficient and because there will always be people who selfishly evade quarantine.

8. Restricting international travel is one of the most important means by which we guarantee the future freedom of travel within Australia.

18 May 2020

Total posts 9

How does preventing Australians leaving Australia, and putting them into quarantine for two weeks when they return, add any risk to Australia? If we leave, we are unable to infect other Australians, and if we are sick when we return, we aren't allowed into public for two weeks anyway, or until we are cleared. Meanwhile, the mental health problems caused by trapping people here, away from loved ones overseas, or work, are being created, and also need to be dealt with. We need to follow NZ, and make it an advisory, and keep quarantine on return. I do not support open borders for tourism, in either direction, but leaving Australia, with a quarantine on return, doesn't put anyone on this island at risk.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

@MissJacks: Australians can leave Australia with permission, e.g. to take up jobs elsewhere. This is happening all the time. The ban is intended to reduce the number of infected Australians coming back to this country. Repatriations are continuing -- thousands of Australians are returning, and some of them are infected. Here are the considerations:

  • Quarantine is costly: do you want to make all Australians pay for the cost of quarantining people who have knowingly put themselves at risk? Or do you want to put the burden on the travellers, effectively making international travel the preserve of the very rich?
  • Quarantine is still risky: quarantine hotels need cooks, cleaners, security staff etc. All these people are placed at risk of infection by their proximity to infected travellers. Those who do fall ill create a risk for health care workers.
  • Quarantine is not a guarantee. The infectious period is highly variable -- we have had cases of infection after more than two weeks.
  • Selfish and ignorant people break quarantine *all the time*, sometimes thinking that they are without symptoms so they can't be infectious, sometimes because they put what they identify as their own mental health ahead of the risk to the rest of us. The more people in quarantine, the greater the risk, the greater the need to turn quarantine into real detention.

Yes, mental health is an issue, but you have to set the mental health of those who are temporarily separated from loved ones against the mental health of those who lose their loved one to the infection and the mental health of those in Australia who worry for their own health and the health of others. I'd argue that the latter has higher priority.

18 May 2020

Total posts 9

The cost can (and is) being transferred to the travellers from July 1. Queensland has already released how much people will be charged, and it is up to individual states. I didn't think we are able to break the enforced quarantines, as they are mandated and monitored by the Border Force/government? Also, don't we have the testing capability to see if, on the 14th day, those who have been in quarantine, are infectious?

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

Queensland's $200 per day is a significantly subsidized charge. The other states have not yet announced any charges. Do you really think that the taxpayer should bear the cost of quarantine for people who deliberately out themselves in harm's way?

And supervision of quarantine has not been especially rigorous -- we've had cases of people breaking it.

Finally, as I said, testing is imperfect. There is a significant number of false negatives and false positives. It's not anyone's fault, just a reflection of the complexity of diagnosis. In any kind of quarantine regime, there will inevitably been leakage into the community, as we have seen.

18 May 2020

Total posts 9

No! I think the traveller should cover it. But it does make use of what would otherwise be empty hotels, and keep some people in jobs. Also, I don't think it is possible to keep a community completely free of a virus, any virus, and you also cannot keep a country completely shut off. I feel like the media has made people obsessed with the 0 cases. We have to be as careful as possible, and yes, nothing is perfect, but shutting off for years is also not the answer.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

At the moment, the taxpayer carries a large part of the cost. The consequence of having the traveller pay full cost will be that international travel is restricted to the wealthy.

You are absolutely right that we won't be able to reduce infection to 0 and that in the long term we can't keep the country completely shut off from the rest of the world. Covid-19 will be part of our world for the rest of our lives (and there's a good chance that a lot of people in this discussion will die of it, later rather than sooner).

However, current policies have kept our infection rate very low, which is a good thing for the economy and for society. Short-term shutoff while the whole world works out how to deal with the disease is the most sensible policy. Some combination of vaccine, treatment and more effective test-and-trace may bring the disease under relative control. We are not there yet, and there is no reason to invite destructive infection into this country sooner than we have to.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 130

"Australians can leave Australia with permission, e.g. to take up jobs elsewhere"

ONLY possible if the destination country doesn't impose a travel ban on incoming foreigners. Many countries are completely closed to foreigners. Having a job or even permanent residency in the country means nothing. China for instance, has been enforcing a COMPLETE travel ban on ALL foreign nationals except diplomats (as they're covered under the diplomatic treaty) from entering the country at this time.

If you lose your job as a result of the travel ban, that's just the way it is. China doesn't care or make allowances for foreigners under the current circumstances.

@MissJacks

Melbourne has had and continues to have many “returned traveller flights” from overseas where the travellers go straight to a “quarantine hotel”. Essentially they should quarantine for 14 days and then be allowed to leave quarantine if they test negative. One fairly large Covid-19 cluster is from security staff at one of these “quarantine hotels” that go home to their family's and potentially stand next to you at Coles or Woolworths or the local fish and chip shop, thus bringing Covid-19 from overseas into our community. How do we get around overseas travellers entering or returning to Australia, we'll that's beyond me.

18 May 2020

Total posts 9

Masks! Wearing masks can help prevent those who have been near any potential infection from spreading it. So the return travellers/those working with them, could wear them? Shutting off until there is a vaccine, which may never happen, is also not sustainable as the rest of the world figures out ways to live with it.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

The unfortunate reality is that masks are uncomfortable and difficult to wear properly. This means that we cannot rely on recently arrived travellers to use them consistently. You can see from the discussion on this page how many people are grossly ignorant of the nature of the disease.

And in practical terms, shutting off while the rest of the world works out how to deal with it is exactly what we should be doing. It won't be forever, but the relatively minor inconvenience of stopping international travel is a small price to pay for community health.

18 May 2020

Total posts 9

It doesn't stop people from wearing them in Asian countries, or now through Europe, out of consideration for others. I would think a mild discomfort would be better than being shut off from the world, while also protecting people, if the health concerns were a real worry? How long do we have to be shut off for? Until there is a vaccine? Because it may not happen. The French PM said they need to act as if the virus is going nowhere, while learning to live with it, and to hope for a vaccine, but not depend on it. I don't see what we are doing, rather than just hoping one will come, and it is a frustration.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

No-one believes that masks are sufficient, even if they are useful. We could move to a situation in which mask-wearing is compulsory for all, but many people would object strenuously. It's simply unrealistic to imagine that recently returned travellers would conscientiously wear a mask if they believe themselves to be low risk or if they see it as an infringement of their personal liberty. As evidence, see the posts on these pages.

'Learning to live with the virus' can mean two things. One is adapting social behaviour to minimize risk (no bars, no restaurants, no concerts, compulsory masks, compulsory 1.5 metres distance etc.); think about it - would you rather have that degree of restriction or a ban on international travel? The other is a callous 'let other people die from the virus', i.e. the ill, the diabetic, the elderly, those who actually have to work with people rather than socially isolating at home with a laptop and internet. Of course, there is a spectrum, we can relax restrictions to the extent that we are happy to let people die.

We have the opportunity to wait and watch, to learn the most effective practices from the rest of the world. Why would we throw that advantage away?

@RBC

I don't think the many of thousands of businesses that have gone broke or are on the verge of going broke would think as you put it” it's a relatively minor inconvenience”. This is real for millions of Australians, not just a “relatively minor inconvenience”.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

I think @frequent flyer put it well: 'The only businesses dying are unhealthy'. Businesses collapse all the time, especially in the hospitality sector. The lives of people are much more important.

But we are talking here about the ban on Australians travelling abroad. The economic effect of the ban is inded relatiuvely minor.

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

wrong again. The economic effect

21 Dec 2016

Total posts 17

But you're still going to have to wear masks. It's the science, comfortable or not.

19 Jun 2020

Total posts 3

Those cases in security guards have been officially attributed to the security staff failing to follow their own physical distancing procedures. It's a little harsh to blame it on the returned travellers. It's hardly their fault that the receiving staff failed to follow their own procedures.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

It's not a matter of blame. It's a matter of what will happen. The invisible nature of the infection inevitably means that people will be careless, with serious consequences for the community.

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

careless ? Only healthy passing onto unhealthy is a problem, maybe

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2018

Total posts 7

I have never read such a long and heated debate on ET. Not surprising that emotions are so high and opinions so polarised. I am obsessed with airline and OS travel, and very keen to be back in the air, like many of the people posting here.

However, I don't believe we would be having this debate if we lived in one of the countries where the political leaders due to corruption and/or ineptitude failed to listen in time to their epidemiologists, health professionals and scientists - USA, Brazil, Russia, UK, Italy, Spain to name a few. We could easily have had an overwhelmed health system and 1000s of deaths here with regular media images of mass graves and overwhelmed mortuaries. Instead, we are complaining about being a nanny state and deprivation of human rights. Let's not forget COVID-19 started with one case, just one.

& yet UK/Europe open up 11 July 2020

https://www.travelmole.com/news_feature.php?c=setreg&region=2&m_id=s~Y!m_r_rn&w_id=37680&news_id=2043178

27 Nov 2019

Total posts 114

NYC opened for business yesterday !!! NYC

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 56

Well done NYC! Humans are designed to live for now. In fact I have not head of any who will live forever, so why waste time living in fear. Every single human I have ever met gets ill at times. Then our bodies are designed to help us recover and fight future infection. Stopping travel and being in fear of contracting a virus will not prolong your life, you will die at some point so take some simple precautions and don't be scared of this virus. If it is going to get you it will, but despite all the paranoia in Australia right now, so few have died. And those that have would most likely have died anyway.

Be strong, live without fear - Well done NYC and many European countries.

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

I think this is meant as a joke. Remember the Onion article which described the WHO as a failure because the global death rate was still 100%?

RBC
RBC

20 Jun 2020

Total posts 25

Irrational, incendiary and semi-inarticulate. @levinn is almost certainly a bot. Better ignore.


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