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Australia delays border opening until 15 December

1) There are no Australia border updates or changes for international students and travellers, despite rising COVID-19 cases and Omicron concerns.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a conference after the emergency cabinet meeting that took part earlier today. Morrison said they “had a positive meeting” and that they are taking Omicron very seriously.

2) “Omicron, we all agree, presents another new challenge, but we have faced so many challenges already during the course of this pandemic,” he said.

Mask wearing is “strongly recommended,” he said, adding that Australians have common sense and they know what they need to do to protect their own health.

3) The state governments are expected to come up with their own policies in response to the Omicron-related surge in cases. It is not confirmed as at the time of writing whether these state-level measures would impact Australia border policies towards international students.

During the press conference, Morrison also talked about the timeframe between shots. “There’s been plenty of discussion about whether the interval should be five months, four months, three months, that will be a decision for the vaccination experts at ATAGI.”

4) The PM talked about testing rates and how people travelling is putting pressure on the system. “So there was a very good discussion about the impact of public health orders in other states,” he said. “And there was a positive discussion and a panel will give further advice on whether testing is required at all for travel.”

5) The governments might look at rapid antigen testing for travelling, he said. “Or we can move to the more simple method of RAT testing with those queues, and make the system a lot more workable.”

Mark McGowan, Premier of Western Australia, recently announced saying more than one million workers will now have to get booster shots under an expanded mandate. This is the first time boosters have been mandated.

6) “As I’ve already mentioned, this morning, I attended the national cabinet meeting where leaders were given an updated briefing on the threat posed to all by the Omicron variant,” McGowan added. “Specifically the third dose, which … is far more effective against the Omicron strain than two doses. Therefore we are now announcing changes to our vaccination programme.”