Skills warning as Australia limits flights | Canberra weather


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Australia will face worsening skills shortages due to a decision to halve international arrivals ceilings until at least next year, industry groups have warned. From July 14, the number of people allowed into the country each week will drop from 6,070 to 3,035. It comes amid fears of a highly contagious strain of coronavirus that has plunged 12 million Australians into custody this week. . The move is part of a four-phase reopening strategy tied to vaccination rates after Friday’s national cabinet meeting of federal, state and territorial leaders. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged his government will facilitate more flights to bring Australians to the Howard Springs quarantine center in the Northern Territory. Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said international arrivals limits should be removed as soon as possible. “The numbers coming in now are just a trickle and today’s reduction practically turns off the tap of skilled workers who are in critical need,” he said. “It is not the number of arrivals causing the epidemics, it is the management around the quarantine provisions.” Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid broadly praised the roadmap, but said holes in hotel quarantine need to be corrected. “Given our dependence on overseas health workers, the caps will exacerbate shortages of doctors and nurses as well as other essential workers in Australia,” said Dr Khorshid. “They will need to be lifted as soon as possible to reduce the impact on vulnerable Australians who need medical attention.” In the first stage, which Australia is now in, prime ministers and prime ministers agreed that lockdowns would be used as a last resort. Home quarantine should also be tested for fully vaccinated overseas arrivals, as well as capped entry for students and economy visa holders. The second phase will begin when an unknown percentage of Australians are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. The government still hopes to offer a vaccine to everyone over 16 by the end of the year, although only 8% of people are fully vaccinated. This threshold would pave the way for an easing of national restrictions on those vaccinated, with lockdowns only expected in extreme circumstances. More vaccinated people would be allowed to enter Australia and the arrival limits for unvaccinated travelers would be lowered to previous levels. Mr Morrison said the third step would involve treating the coronavirus like other infectious diseases, including influenza with phase four the “back to normal” mark. About 30,000 Australians are still abroad trying to return home. Alliance for Australians Abroad founder Jacinta Redden said it was already “virtually impossible” to get a return flight. “The prime ministers made this call because of the pressure on the quarantine system,” she told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Friday. “The fact that… 18 months after the start of the pandemic, the Commonwealth Government still has not built any other facilities specifically designed to accommodate the quarantine is appalling.” Associated Australian Press

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