Borders are closing to Australian travellers as the Omicron variant causes one of the biggest surges of COVID-19 cases in the world.
The United States and Europe have this week both downgraded Australia’s travel safety rating, making it significantly harder for Australians to visit.
The European Council took Australia, Argentina and Canada off its travel green list — where Australia has sat comfortably for most of the pandemic — meaning restrictions on non-essential travel.
“The council updated the list of countries, special administrative regions and other entities and territorial authorities for which travel restrictions should be lifted,” the EU body said, in a statement.
“In particular Argentina, Australia and Canada were removed from the list.
“Non-essential travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed in Annex I is subject to temporary travel restriction.”
Each EU country will now make its own rules on entry requirements including testing and isolation.
The United States has also issued a warning to “avoid travel to Australia”, listing the country at its highest risk rating.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) moved a whopping 22 nations into its highest-risk travel category for COVID-19 this week, in contrast to last week when it moved only two nations to level four or “very high” risk.
Australian Traveller Media founder Quentin Long told 9News he would expect the international travel outlook to start improving in April or May.
“Spontaneous travel seems to be way off in the future or way off in the past — so look you have to be really organised and understand all the terms and conditions,” he said.
“Testing, when do you have to test? Where do you have to test? How do you prove your test? What do you have to report? What happens if you do fall sick?
“In 2022, it will be a big domestic travel year again. If I were Australians, I’d be booking all my domestic travel right now.”
Argentina, which has also maintained some of the strictest border controls during most of the pandemic, was among the other countries to be moved to the US’ level four restrictions list.