“Australia and New Zealand have both been lauded for their success in stemming the COVID-19 outbreak. As of 12 May, Australia had recorded just under 7,000 confirmed cases and 97 deaths whereas New Zealand has confirmed less than 1,200 cases and 21 deaths. Daily infection rates have remained low in both countries in recent weeks and now both have also announced plans for a phased reopening of their respective economies and borders.

“The safest possible way”
In an 8 May statement, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison set out a three-step plan to gradually remove current public health and travel restrictions. The plan is perhaps best understood as a recovery roadmap from Australia’s national government. The actual implementation of the plan and the timing of each phase will fall to Australian states and territories in the months ahead.

“We are confidently and cautiously taking the first step to lifting restrictions,” said Prime Minister Morrison. “Our success so far means we have slowed the spread of COVID-19 and built the capacity in our health system to manage the impact of the virus. We can now start to progressively ease the restrictions we have in place.”

The broad strokes of the Australian plan are outlined in the graphic below. Of particular note to international educators and recruiters is “Step 3” where the government anticipates that the borders may once again be opened to international students.

The timing of the Australian plan suggests that international students may be able to travel to the country again as of July, likely with some restrictions still in place and with strict post-arrival protocols that will include a quarantine period. Media reports suggest that any cohort of foreign students admitted in July would likely be drawn from a specific group of source countries where the virus has also been brought under control. That initial cohort will in effect also serve as a pilot that could lead to a larger intake in the latter months of 2020 and into 2021.”

Read the full article on Monitor.ICEF.com.

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