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Australia extends international cruise ship ban until June 17

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Greg Hunt said the COVID-19 situation overseas poses unacceptable risk
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the restrictions on outbound international travel and the entry of cruise ships within Australian territory have been extended until June 17.

The three-month extension will take the human biosecurity emergency period out to 15 months. It was introduced on March 18 last year and was set to cease December 17, before being extended to March 17.

Unacceptable risk

Hunt said the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer advised the government that the COVID-19 situation overseas continues to pose an unacceptable public health risk, including the emergence of more highly transmissible variants. 

He said the extension of the emergency period is to mitigate that risk for everyone’s health and safety.

He said the government continues to work closely with state and territory agencies, national health committees and the cruise industry to develop a framework for the staged resumption of cruise ships in a manner that is proportionate to the public health risk.

‘Remarkable job’

Cruise Lines International Association Australasia MD Joel Katz said Australia has done a 'remarkable job’ in managing COVID-19 and CLIA respects the decision to extend the Biosecurity Determination affecting the border and international travel.

‘However, we believe there is a pathway for the phased and tightly controlled return of domestic cruising for the benefit of those regional communities and industries that rely on a healthy cruise sector,’ Katz said.

Talks about domestic operations

‘We have been working closely with the federal government for more than six months now on a high-level framework for the restart of domestic operations.’

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