Empty flights cast an air of doom

Original article by Robyn Ironside
The Australian – Page: 4 : 7-Jul-21

The Board of Airline Representatives of Australia’s executive director Barry Abrams has warned that the nation’s coronavirus-induced lower caps on inbound passenger numbers means that some international flights to Australia will no longer be commercially viable. Two-thirds of flights into Sydney will be restricted to no more than 26 passengers, while no passengers will be permitted on the remainder. Likewise, most flights into Melbourne will be restricted to a maximum of 13 passengers. The impact of reduced passengers loads may be partially offset by strong demand for air freight.

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BOARD OF AIRLINE REPRESENTATIVES OF AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED

International airlines may be forced to suspend flights to Australia after arrival cap halved

Original article by Matilda Boseley, Royce Kurmelovs
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 5-Jul-21

National cabinet recently agreed to reduce the number of international arrivals from 6,070 to 3,035 a week, with the cuts to take effect as from 14 July. Board of Airline Representatives executive director Barry Abrams says the cuts will make it hard for international airlines to maintain their current frequency of flights to Australia, while he has rejected suggestions airlines are trying to take advantage of the cut in arrivals by price gouging.

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BOARD OF AIRLINE REPRESENTATIVES OF AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED

Queensland and Victoria push to slash number of international arrivals in Australia

Original article by Yara Murray-Atfield
abc.net.au – Page: Online : 30-Jun-21

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has called for a "massive reduction" in the number of international travellers who are allowed into Australia in the wake of the latest wave of COVID-19 lockdowns across the country. Palaszczuk adds that international travellers should be quarantined in dedicated facilities such as Howard Springs in the Northern Territory, rather than hotels. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews also supports a big reduction in overseas arrivals, contending that it is preferable to locking down entire cities or states if the coronavirus leaks from the hotel quarantine system. More than 35,000 Australians remain stranded overseas, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade.

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QUEENSLAND. DEPT OF THE PREMIER AND CABINET, VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET

Two states on high alert after infected case fled Melbourne lockdown

Original article by Lydia Lynch
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 10-Jun-21

Health authorities in New South Wales and Queensland are trying to identify all close contacts of a Melbourne couple who travelled interstate on 1 June, three days after Victoria’s latest COVID-19 lockdown began. The 44-year-old woman subsequently tested positive on 8 June, although her partner has tested negative so far. The couple stopped in four towns in regional NSW before arriving in Queensland on 5 June; they visited family members on the Sunshine Coast on the following day. Queensland’s chief health officer Jeannette Young says the woman may have been infectious while travelling through NSW; she adds that it is too soon to consider whether parts of southeast Queensland should go into lockdown.

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QUEENSLAND HEALTH

Vaccine passports risk a two-class country

Original article by Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 4 : 21-May-21

Business leaders have questioned the merits of the federal government’s proposed ‘vaccine passport’ system for domestic travellers. It would allow fully vaccinated people to travel interstate and return without being subject to COVID-19 restrictions. Restaurant & Catering CEO Wes Lambert says it would be "very cumbersome" and create more red tape; he adds that it might also create two classes of Australians, based on their vaccination status. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and New South Wales counterpart Gladys Berejiklian both oppose the scheme. Meanwhile, five new COVID-19 cases have been reported in hotel quarantine nationwide in the last 24 hours.

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RESTAURANT AND CATERING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, QUEENSLAND. DEPT OF THE PREMIER AND CABINET, NEW SOUTH WALES. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET

Call for medevac-style repatriation flights for Australians with Covid from India

Original article by Calla Wahlquist
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 17-May-21

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended the federal government’s policy on repatriating Australian citizens and permanent residents in India. The first repatriation flight arrived in Darwin on 15 May, with just 80 returned travellers aboard; they are now at the Howard Springs quarantine facility. Another 42 people who tested positive for COVID-19 and 30 close contacts were barred from the flight. Morrison says it does not make sense to import COVID-19 into Australia by allowing people who have tested positive to board repatriation flights. However, epidemiologist Catherine Bennett contends that vulnerable Australians abroad who have the coronavirus should be treated as medical evacuees rather than returned travellers. Some of the people who were barred from the flight have since tested negative.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, DEAKIN UNIVERSITY

Australian Open could be forced offshore due to coronavirus border closure

Original article by Catherine Murphy
abc.net au – Page: Online : 17-May-21

Tennis players are said to be unwilling to go through two weeks of hotel quarantine again before the Australian Open if the nation’s international borders remain closed until mid-2022. It is believed that Tennis Australia is prepared to move the 2022 Australian Open to Doha or Dubai if it and the federal government cannot come to an agreement on less rigid quarantine arrangements. Melbourne’s Formula One grand prix will also need quarantine arrangements to be eased if it is to go ahead in November, after it was switched from March.

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TENNIS AUSTRALIA

PM cool on Qld quarantine camp idea

Original article by Andrew Tillett
The Australian Financial Review – Page: Online : 22-Jan-21

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk plans to raise her proposal to relocate the quarantining of returned international travellers from Brisbane hotels to regional mining camps when national cabinet meets on 22 January. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has voiced scepticism about the idea, noting the possibility that resources workers could become infected and thus hamper Australia’s economic recovery. The meeting will also receive an update on the implementation plan for Australia’s vaccine rollout from March and on quarantine arrangements for seasonal workers to be allowed into Australia to harvest fresh produce, as well as discussing the cap on international arrivals.

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QUEENSLAND. DEPT OF THE PREMIER AND CABINET

Berejiklian slams Andrews over hasty border shutdown

Original article by Stephen Rice
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 11-Jan-21

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged other states to consult with her government before closing their borders in the future. Victoria’s border with NSW remains closed, and Premier Daniel Andrews has yet to set a firm date for lifting the restrictions. This is despite the fact that NSW recorded just three new locally-acquired COVID-19 cases on 10 January, while just 10 new cases among returned travellers in hotel quarantine were recorded nationwide. There are now 199 active cases in NSW, 45 in Victoria, 21 in the Northern Territory, 20 in Queensland, 15 in South Australia and 15 in Western Australia.

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NEW SOUTH WALES. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET, VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET

PM powerless on border closures, defends slow rollout

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 6-Jan-21

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he hopes lower numbers of COVID-19 cases in Sydney in recent days could see border restrictions between Victoria and New South Wales "eased as soon as possible". However, he has conceded he does not have the power to stop premiers and chief ministers closing their borders for health reasons. Morrison rejected criticisms that the federal government was taking too long to rollout a COVID-19 vaccine, saying that the Therapeutic Goods Administration needs to rigorously examine vaccine testing data, while vaccine batches in Australia will also need further testing.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET