May 9, 2020

The article will provide insights on:

  • Universities should be permitted to accept foreign students.
  • Foreign students are important for reopening the Australia’s economy, suggested experts.
  • International students contribute approximately $35 billion each year towards Australia’s export income.
  • Ban on international travel unlikely to be lifted until October 2020.

Universities across Australia could be given permission to allow thousands of foreign students to resume their studies in international campuses, mainly in order to relax nation’s financial losses, despite the existing travel bans that are anticipated to remain for months.

Nev Power, country head for the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission, stated that international students are perceived to be crucial in stimulating the Australian economy.

International students has a total contribution of about $35 billion per year towards the overall economy of Australia, which fell down drastically after the borders were shut due to the worldwide travel ban caused by the pandemic.

Mr. Power reiterated the relevance of rebooting the education sector as it is the country’s third largest means of export and in order to ensure kick starting the economy, it has been suggested that they should start operating again by July.

As the Federal Government of Australia has refused to assist the universities financially, Mr. Power has informed a local media group that in these times of financial and social crisis, the two should come together to bring the international students back in the academic campuses. He further suggested that these foreign nationals can be flown via chartered aircraft’s, while following stringent quarantine measures during the period of their journey.

The crisis should be considered as an opportunity for the colleges and universities to work along with the government to provide them with safe preventive measures and procedures to expedite the visas of the international students and invite them back in the country at the earliest.

While it appears that Australia has eased out the restrictions placed around due to the pandemic, overseas travel will be halted until October, as predicted by leaders and experts in diverse fields.

However, the prediction also analyzed that the interstate travel will be allowed from early August only if the infection rates will be lowered. But officials have clarified that travel bans will not be lifted for at least next six months.

The federal government also said that the international travel ban will remain in place for a longer period of time, but the domestic air, train and bus travel will start earlier depending on the pandemic situation in each of these states.

One major exception could be travel ban to New Zealand, while the Australian government is considering establishing a trans-Tasman bubble which will enable travel to and from the Australia.

Expert of microbiology and infectious diseases at the Australian National University, Professor Peter Collignon however forecasted that prohibition on international travel to and from the Australian continent will last until the winters of this year. Domestic travel, which also includes New Zealand, has all the possibilities of resuming again if the individuals and communities across Australia will keep the infection rates low while following the necessary preventive measures such as testing for the virus, washing hands, resisting crowd gatherings and maintaining physical distance.

Mr. Collignon said that the decision to start the international travel again is also dependent on what would happen next year on the global scale, that is mainly in Europe and North America and also whether the infections will spike again in any of these regions. People will be allowed to go to a place only if it is a relatively safe there but will be required to quarantine themselves for at least two weeks after coming back. Quarantine conditions will be put forth for the next 12 months as infected travelers could start a new cycle and therefore an outbreak again.

The Australian Government will keep a close check on the worldwide pandemic data to make sure that their permanent citizens and residents are going in an area of low transmission but as all are aware, at the current moment such reliable data is not available. Australians would be free to gather in meetings of up to 10 people inside their homes after the second week of May, an announcement much anticipated from Scott Morrison.

Also, the ban on public gatherings which includes more than two people will reportedly be lifted when the Australian prime minister will address the nation after the National Cabinet meeting of the coming week’s Friday. Mr. Morrison clarified that the government certainly wants that the country to get back to the normal state of operation as the entire world is awaiting the release of Covid-19 vaccine. This would let people to plan dinner parties and attend family barbecues on March 10, during the annual celebration of motherhood across the country.

As the lock down is gradually relaxed by the federal country, while making stringent announcements each week about the measures that are important to take, the final decision would be on individual states and territories about how and when each of these regulations will be enforced.

The Australian leader, Scott Morrison further encouraged the use of Covid-19 app by the government as it will be vital in the upcoming weeks and months to slower but assured functioning of societies and therefore will prevent the second wave of crisis.

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