Austria imposes a nationwide lockdown again as the average daily deaths triple; Australia will allow international students and professionals into the country

Mon 22 Nov 2021 06:16 GMT

First published on Mon, 11/22/2021 04/06 GMT

06:16 am GMT06: 16

Air New Zealand has canceled around 1,000 flights between New Zealand and Australia, citing “ongoing border uncertainties” between the two countries.

The announcement will destroy the plans of some New Zealanders and Australians who had hoped to be reunited for Christmas.

Around 20,000 customers are affected, the airline said. The canceled flights will fall between now and the end of December – while the airline’s flight schedule remains in place, it is not clear whether additional flights can be canceled in the future.

“This will be particularly difficult news for families and friends who were hoping to catch up over Christmas … but our hands are tied until border restrictions wear off and we get further clarification from the New Zealand government,” said Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne told Geraghty in a written statement.

The trans-Tasman bubble, which enabled quarantine-free travel between the two countries, closed in July in response to a Covid outbreak in Australia. It has remained closed since New Zealand began struggling to contain its own outbreak in August.

06:04 am GMT06: 04

Samantha Lock is with you for an update on the latest Covid headlines.

The regional differences in the fight against Covid have become even more pronounced in recent weeks as Europe introduces more bans and nations in Asia and the Pacific relax restrictions.

Austria today has its fourth national Covid ban It is the first Western European country to reintroduce the measure this fall amid rising coronavirus infections.

The average daily deaths in the country have tripled in recent weeks, and hospitals in severely affected states have warned that the intensive care units reach their capacities. The lockdown will last at least 10 days but could be as long as 20, officials said.

The government will also make vaccinations mandatory from February 1st. About 66% of the 8.9 million Austrians are fully vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in Western Europe.

“For a long time, maybe too long, I and others thought that it must be possible to convince the people in Austria to to be vaccinated voluntarily, “said Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg.

Australia will welcome international students and skilled workers for exemption-free entry into the country from next week, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison is a” major milestone “for the return of the country to normalcy has designated.