Australia has paused plans to reopen its borders to some foreign nationals amid fears over the new Covid variant.

The country was expected to reopen to international skilled and student cohorts, as well as humanitarian, working holidaymakers, and provisional family visa holders from December 1.

This has now been pushed back to December 15.

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“The temporary pause will ensure Australia can gather the information we need to better understand the Omicron variant, including the efficacy of the vaccine, the range of illness, including if it may generate more mild symptoms, and the level of transmission,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement with other leaders tonight.”Australia’s border is already closed to travelers except for fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents, and immediate family, as well as fully vaccinated green lane travelers from New Zealand and Singapore and limited exemptions.”

All international arrivals, including Australian citizens, permanent residents, and immediate family members must quarantine for 72 hours if they land in NSW, Victoria, or travel to the ACT. Other quarantine arrangements are in place in different states and the Northern territory.