American citizens are being warned to avoid all travel to Australia, declaring the risk of contracting Covid-19 is too ‘severe’.
Once having the unenviable title of most Covid-riddled place on earth, the US now has significantly lower infection rates than Australia, which has rocketed to the top of the list.
The US State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their travel advice on Wednesday, slapping Australia with a Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ rating – the same as war-torn nations including North Korea, Afghanistan and Syria.
The levels are determined by official statistics showing how many virus cases there are per 100,000 people in a country.
Australia recorded an additional 80,000 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, with hospitalisation rates at record highs and supply chain disruption leaving supermarket shelves across the country bare.
The United States has warned its citizen to not travel to Australia, declaring the risk of contracting Covid-19 is ‘severe’. Pictured: US President Joe Biden
The US State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their travel advice on Wednesday, slapping Australia with a Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ rating – the same as war-torn nations like North Korea, Afghanistan and Syria. Pictured: Bondi Beach in Sydney
Even with the highest number of Covid cases in world since the pandemic began, the US administration warned Americans to avoid a trip Down Under, with countries such as China and Japan still considered Level 3.
Under the threat system Level 1 means there is low risk, Level 2 signifies a moderate threat, while Level 3 urges US residents to avoid unnecessary travel.
Travel advisory warnings take into account a destination’s political instability, the threat of terrorism or violent crimes as well as the potential for natural disasters.
During the pandemic, the marker for a nation to be given a Level 4 warning by the CDC is 500 new Covid cases per 100,000 people over the past 28 days.
With the Omicron strain wreaking havoc across the globe, 22 new nations surpassed that threshold this week.
Australia recorded an additional 80,000 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, with hospitalisation rates at record highs and supply chain disruption leaving supermarket shelves across the country bare. Pictured: Queensland Police stop vehicles at a Covid checkpoint
NEW DESTINATIONS WITH ‘DO NOT TRAVEL’ BY THE US
Albania, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bermuda, Bolivia, British Virgin Islands, Cape Verde, Egypt, Grenada, Guyana, Israel, Panama, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Turks and Caicos, and Uruguay.
‘Do not travel to Australia due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions,’ the travel advice said.
‘The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Australia due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country.
‘Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine.’
‘There are restrictions in place affecting U.S. citizen entry into Australia.’
Since the pandemic began, the US has recorded 69 million Covid infections and a death toll of 877,000.
Daily cases during the Omicron wave have soared as high as 894,000 cases with figures now sitting at about 570,000 per day.
But this comes across a much higher population than Australia, with 330 million people living in the US.
The decision comes by the US comes just one day after the European Union also deemed Australia a Covid danger zone following a daily pandemic death record.
Travel rules for unvaccinated arrivals were tightened on Tuesday to include travellers from Australia, Argentina and Canada, amid soaring Omicron variant cases.
The European Council of the European Union announced it would continue recommending a ban on non-essential travel to those nations.
Melbourne and Buenos Aires have also had the world’s longest lockdowns.
Residents queue up for COVID-19 nucleic acid testing at a residential community on January 18, 2022 in Beijing, China with the nation still declared a Level 3 threat
Japan has a Level 3 warning. Pictured: People wearing face masks walk at Shinagawa station in Tokyo on January 18, 2022
Despite that, Australia is regarded as unsafe with a record 77 new daily coronavirus deaths announced on Tuesday.
But the European Council recommended travel, regardless of vaccination status, to New Zealand, Colombia, China, Indonesia and even Rwanda.
Colombia has seen 5.5 million coronavirus cases to date, and more than 131,000 deaths, while the virus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
Australia’s Covid death toll has been relatively low throughout the most of the pandemic, but Omicron is creating challenges with more than 60,000 new daily cases since December.
The European Council has removed Australia from the recommended list of countries whose unvaccinated citizens will be able to enter the EU under lifted Covid restrictions on Tuesday night (pictured, beachgoers on Bondi Beach on January 16)
China is on the list of places the European Council recommends lifting travel restrictions on, despite the virus originating there (pictured, testing at Xian North train station on January 17)
Canada reported 48,964 new infection for January 17 – earning it a place on the EU’s danger list
Countries removed from the EU list of people who can travel vaxx-free
46,220 new cases were reported on January 18 with the majority of cases situated in NSW and Vic.
92.6 per cent of Australia’s population aged over 16 is fully vaccinated.
Canada reported 48,964 new infection for January 17.
87.78 per cent of the country’s population aged over 12 is fully vaccinated.
Argentine has reported 161,893 new cases of covid in the last 24 hours.
Reuters estimates 91.7 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated.
Since the beginning of the pandemic Australia has recorded a total of 1.8 million cases of Covid and 2,750 deaths from the virus.
This means about 6.9 per cent of the population has been infected with Covid, with a death rate of just 0.01 per cent.
By comparison, about 21 per cent of France’s population has been infected with the virus since the beginning of the pandemic and 0.18 per cent have died.
Tourists fully vaccinated with European Medicines Agency approved vaccines are now able to travel to EU countries for any purpose.
The vaccines approved include Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Novavax, and Moderna.
EU citizens and healthcare and transport personnel are exempt from the recommended tightened restrictions.
Roughly 5.5 per cent of Australia’s population has been infected with Covid and 0.01 per cent have died from it
EU citizens and healthcare and transport personnel are exempt from the recommended tightened restrictions
The EU council stated that the list will be reviewed every two weeks.
When the pandemic began in March 2020, the majority of EU nations agreed on an entry ban for non-essential travel, which now applies to those who aren’t vaccinated against Covid.
The list of countries the EU council recommends lifting travel bans for includes 15 countries and special administrative regions.
The move to remove Australia from the safe list coincided with a pandemic daily death record of 77.
Australians were banned from travelling overseas for a holiday in March 2020 but that restriction was lifted just before Christmas for vaccinated citizens and permanent residents
A record 36 people died on Monday in New South Wales, after testing positive to Covid, followed by and 22 in Victoria and 16 in Queensland.
The youngest of the NSW fatalities was aged in their 40s while all but three were over-65.
Australia has banned international tourists since March 2020, the month the World Health Organisation declared a pandemic.
But international students and those with a working visa have been allowed back into Australia since December 2021.
Australians were banned from travelling overseas for a holiday in March 2020 but that restriction was lifted just before Christmas for vaccinated citizens and permanent residents.