Our team at Best of Australia Golf wants to provide to you the best possible golfing vacation to Australia and the South Pacific. We remain as up to date as we can possibly be on the latest news and changing situations regarding Covid and the border closure. This blog post, albeit all not great news, is our honest assessment of the situation. We believe that the 2022-23 season will be the first time that visitors will be allowed into Australia... and when they are we will be ready to serve you!
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Australia, like New Zealand, has taken a zero-tolerance policy toward Covid. The borders have been sealed to the world for well over a year and quarantine has been set for any Aussies returning home.
Unfortunately, the virus has found its way into the country lately and the results have been frustrating. Aside from the experimental "travel bubble" between Oz and the Kiwis being suspended for a few months severe lockdowns have caused disruption throughout the country.
So where does Australia stand in August of 2021?
Current cases: There are currently 3511 active cases in Australia with 350 people hospitalized. Driven largely by the Delta variant the country is battling the spread of Covid with lockdowns across the country. Sydney will be in lockdown into September at a minimum, with the Australia military helping local police to ensure people stay in their homes.
What are the plans to emerge from this situation?
Vaccinations: The good news is that Australia’s vaccine campaign is actually doing quite well recently! Initially the country received few Pfizer shots, but almost 1m doses now arrive each week. Roughly 40% of the population (over age 16) have received a first dose, with 18% of the country being fully vaccinated. The government projects it is on target to offer a vaccine to every Australian by the end of 2021.
So what will it take for the country to open?
A Dependable Plan: Without a clear timeline for when the country will open there are challenges in even planning a holiday to Australia. In order to confidently plan the type of trip our clients expect we look for a set policy and guarantees that travelers can count on from the Australian government.
A couple of weeks ago, the Hon. Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Dan Tehan, visited Los Angeles and hosted a Tourism Industry Roundtable. In those discussions the Minister said that the government is working to provide clarity as soon as possible.
The assumption today is that Australia's border will remain closed until the winter of 2022... thus perhaps June/July of 2022.
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We will continue to stay on top of the situation as further information is released. The government has a four-phase approach that will see the country move from a COVID suppression strategy to a management strategy (treated like any other infectious disease, such as the flu):
- Phase A. Vaccinate, Prepare and Pilot (This is the current phase)
- Phase B. Vaccination Transition Phase (~70% of adult population fully vaccinated by the end of 2021)
- Phase C. Vaccination Consolidation Phase (≥80% of adult population fully vaccinated)
- Phase D. Post Vaccination Phase
In the next few posts we will outline each of these phases and what it means for returning to Australia.