International Travel Ban Extended to June

The Australian government announced today that the ban on international travel will be extended for another three months. The biosecurity emergency duration will be extended until June 17th, effectively halting all international travel with a few exceptions. This will bring Australia’s rough lockout duration to a total of 15 months.

Non-Stop Qantas flight from Sydney to Frankfurt
Those Qantas long-haul planes aren’t going anywhere any time soon. JFKJets.com/Vincenzo Pace/JFKJets.com/Vincenzo Pace/JFKJets.
Border closures have been in effect for 15 months.
The government has announced that international travel will be prohibited until at least June 2021, which is bad news for travel-hungry Australians and airlines. The ‘biosecurity emergency duration,’ which enables the federal government to limit travel by overseas flight or cruise ship, has been extended.

In a statement released today, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that a three-month extension to the current emergency period will be given on the recommendation of the Australian Health Protection Principle Committee (AHPPC) and the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer. This pushes the reopening date for the border to June 17th, 2021, putting Australia under lockdown for a total of 15 months.

It’s a setback for Australians who want to visit family and friends, but it’s even worse for those who are trapped overseas. Prices for flights home are sky high due to strict incoming flight limits and limitations on who can fly. Many who can afford to fly also have their flights cancelled, leaving thousands of people stranded abroad.

The AHPPC has advised the Australian government that the situation with COVID-19 overseas continues to pose an unacceptable health risk to the nation, according to the paper. A major factor listed is the appearance of more transmissible variants in other parts of the world.

The statement concludes with a disclaimer, stating that the restrictions can be revised or revoked if they are no longer necessary. If vaccine programmes continue to roll out quickly and are shown to be successful against new and evolving strains, Australia will be able to open up sooner.
Qantas had previously stated that the service would resume in July, but that date has now been pushed back to October. Qantas photo
Qantas had previously scheduled international flights to resume in July, but Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack chastised the airline for making unilateral decisions. As a result, the airline has pushed back the resumption of international flights to October 1st, which is starting to look like a much more feasible date.

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Is it possible that the vaccine would allow travel to resume sooner?
Though Australia has done an outstanding job in terms of case numbers, the effect on the health and livelihoods of its people cannot be overstated. The internet is littered with stories of couples being split, companies failing, and families being ripped apart, and this new expansion of the travel ban will only rekindle a ferocious response from those affected.

The vaccination is the only hope for an earlier opening. Australians are starting to get their first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and the Oxford-Astrazenica vaccine, which is manufactured in the UK, will start rolling out next week. Frontline employees and quarantine personnel are the first to be vaccinated, accompanied by those who are most at risk of developing a serious case of COVID-19.

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The vaccine offers hope for a more open Australia, but will it be required? courtesy of Getty Images
The programme will then continue to reach the general public, but Australia does not expect it to be completed anytime soon. Hunt said, according to reports in Executive Traveler,

“By the end of 2021, our national target is to ensure that all Australians who want to be vaccinated are vaccinated… We won’t be out of this until we have a country with a comprehensive vaccination programme.”

Although vaccination will remain optional for Australian residents, there is discussion about making vaccinations mandatory for visitors arriving in the country. Visitors may be forced to provide evidence of vaccination or undergo two weeks of hotel quarantine at their own expense, according to the National Vaccination Policy.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce previously stated that vaccines will be required for both tourists and Australians wishing to fly internationally with the airline. Nothing has been verified as of yet, but Australia is clearly concerned about undoing all of its hard work by allowing risks to enter the country.

New Years Camping in Belongil, Byron Bay

byron-bay_camping-belongil

Camping in Byron Bay is tiring, I thought I was going for a chilled holiday but I ended up drinking every single day and night for the 5 days I was there.

We had chosen what I believe was the cheapest accommodation in Byron Bay over the New Years period, Belongil Camp Grounds.
This camp ground cost around $52 a night for a powered site, and a bit cheaper for one without power.
Overall the place is quite large, with 1500 campers there at the peak time (NYE). 1500 was quite a lot of people, campsites are pretty stacked together but you still had room to move. I was told last year they had 4000 people.. yikes.

This camp ground is roughly 3km out of the city center of Byron Bay, which I think is a bit too much to walk but the perfect distance if you have a bike.

The first day the place was only about 1 third full, so there was plenty of room and everything was pretty chilled.
Slowly but surely, as the days went on, things got a bit more hectic. It was reminiscent of a music festival; music blasting from every tent, professional CDJ setups, PA speakers, but it wasn’t overwhelming. In fact, there was quite a variety of music and everybody was quite welcoming if you wanted to go chill with them and listen to their tunes.

The next two nights got pretty wild, there was no chance you were going to get to sleep without being completely belted, something we had many years experience at. Girls walking around with goonsacks, guys doing burnouts in the field, a few fights, but you never really saw any aggression outside of that. The toilet/shower block ended up with broken glass all through them with some champion taking a shit on the shower soap holder. A few broken mirrors, lights ripped from the ceiling and shower doors all kicked in. There was a super secret toilet + shower combo which had its walls ripped down which was absolutely devastating as I gave that sucker a workout a few times.

So far, nothing too bad, considering the amount of people that were staying at the camp grounds. We ended up with a rotting t-bone steak (I think?) outside our tent which we have no idea where it came from. There was also a turd about 4 meters away from it. Some people really don’t like using toilets.

All in all, I enjoyed myself, but I would highly recommend you being completely shitfaced to maximize the enjoyment.

Do not go here if you are a family
Do not go here if you are older than 22-25+
Do not go here if you’re afraid of some glass and random turds

Go here if you have a pair of shower thongs and are prepared to give those badboys a workout
Go here if you want to see a bunch of random funny shit, like dudes jumping bikes into the back of Toyota Land Cruisers
Go here if you plan on being permadrunk, playing some tunes and talking absolute shit with your good mates