CANBERRA, Australia — Australia is extending its ban on international cruise ships and on Australians leaving the country except under exceptional circumstances for another three months until March.
The extension announced Tuesday means the human biosecurity emergency declaration will last for at least a year despite COVID-19 cases declining in the isolated nation.
Australia has imposed some of the most severe border restrictions in the world since the pandemic began, requiring most of its citizens and permanent residents to apply for a permit and prove exceptional circumstances if they need to leave the country.
Australia is a nation of 26 million people. Latest government figures showed on Monday there were only 1,618 active COVID-19 cases, with 30 of those infected in hospitals.
Thousands of Australians have missed out on funerals, weddings and the births of relatives because of the travel ban which is designed to prevent travelers from bringing with virus home.