The *very necessary* powers will remain until April.
Australia’s coronavirus pandemic emergency measures implemented under the Biosecurity Act 2015 have been extended for a further two months.
Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed on Friday in a statement the emergency period, which has been in place since March 18, 2020, would now continue until April 17, 2022.
This extension was declared by the Governor-General after what is described as “specialist medical and epidemiological advice” was provided by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer.
“The AHPPC has advised the current wave of Omicron cases in Australia warrants a further extension of the emergency period,” the statement reads.
“Whilst the peak of the Omicron wave has largely passed, the health advice is that this is an appropriate response while the Australian Government continues to develop and implement management strategies to mitigate the impacts of Omicron.”
The never-ending cycle continues behind the scenes during this second period of false freedom.
A number of existing emergency requirements will remain in place until April 17, including mandatory pre-departure testing and mask wearing for international flights, restrictions on outbound international travel for unvaccinated Australians (still not permitted to escape), and restrictions to ‘protect remote’ communities.
Hunt has since confirmed the details of remote community extensions, particularly in the Northern Territory.
The measures could be ‘revoked early’ if the health advice changes as the Omicron peak passes.
However, just as happened at the end of 2020 with the Trump theatre saga, COVID hysteria will take a short vacation ahead of the 2022 Federal Election before clocking back on again.
In the statement, Hunt said the emergency requirements “have helped Australia respond to coronavirus, which ‘first emerged’ in China in December 2019.
Funny that there was a pandemic exercise happening two months before this period.
“These emergency requirements have helped Australia respond quickly to manage the number of inbound and outbound travellers, reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading on flights and at international airports in Australia, further manage the number of cases in quarantine facilities, and ensure the accessibility and affordability of rapid antigen test kits,” the statement says.
It feels like yesterday we first reported the passing of this bill in 2015.
Now, here we are all these years later, and it continues on.
“It is important that the human biosecurity emergency period remains in place to ensure the appropriate legislative powers are available to the Australian Government during Omicron outbreaks, as well as to protect vulnerable communities in Australia.”
Sure thing, Greggles.
Just like the quarantine camps that are opening right as things ‘start to go back to normal’?
Importantly, the emergency requirements will be reviewed regularly.
Whatever happens moving forward, Hunt won’t be too concerned about any continued damaged that may be caused by these emergency measures, as he will be retiring in just as few months time.
‘See ya, folks!’
OUT THE DOOR
Greg Hunt officially announced his retirement from parliament at the next election in December 2021.
He has been in Australian parliament since November 2001.
2001? Right after September? What a coincidence.
Hunt announced he is poised to pull the pin on his political career at the next election, with a number of his colleagues congratulating him for his long ‘contributions’ to Australian society.
Just like Gladys, Jeanette, Baird and many others, the revolving door of political actors rolls on, as Hunt looks to slip out the back door after being the Federal Health Minister for this entire operation.
He is expected to remain in the health portfolio until election day, which they say will help Morrison avoid appointing a replacement during the vaccine booster program and new coronavirus variants.
What a great bloke..
He has publicly denied on several occasions this year that he was considering retirement.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters Mr Hunt was one of his “closest friend in this place”.
“We are very dear friends and he has been an outstanding Health Minister through this crisis,” Frydenberg said.
Hunt is one of only three Liberal MPs, along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, to have served in federal cabinet since the Coalition came to power in September 2013.
He has held the health portfolio since January 2017, after taking over from Morrison.
Zoe McKenzie, an NBN non-executive director who advised Andrew Robb during his time as trade minister, is Mr Hunt’s preferred successor.
Perhaps he will slip in one more extension of this legislation before he bows out of the political realm.
We shall wait and see.
In the end, at least we will always have this classic moment to remember him by..
Dang it, Greg!
‘We’re live, pal!’
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