Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt isn’t making any guarantees Australia will reopen its border to international students and visa holders in mid-December.
The emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant sparked a two-week delay on Australia’s long-awaited international reopening.
“I’m certainly not making any guarantees,” Mr Hunt told Sky News on Friday when asked if the pause on international arrivals would definitely end after December 15.
“It’s our intention at the end of that period, subject to the science and medical advice, to return to the previous settings.
“It will depend on the international evidence.”
There are nine confirmed infections involving the Omicron variant in Australia and all but one are in NSW.
The variant appears to be more transmissible than Delta and there are indications Omicron may cause a milder form of illness.
Authorities are awaiting more information about vaccine efficacy against the new strain.
It’s too soon to make a definitive call on that
“It appears as if there is still good resistance, strong resistance, but it’s too soon to make a definitive call on that,” Mr Hunt said.
Victoria on Thursday recorded 1419 new infections and 10 more deaths.
NSW reported 271 new cases, the ACT eight and Queensland one.
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