Australia reopens border to travellers from NZ. Image Source: IANS News

Canberra, March 3 : The Australian government on Wednesday announced that it has extended the nation's international border ban until June.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said that the human biosecurity emergency period, which was introduced in March 2020, has been extended until June 17 to "ensure the Australian government has the powers to take any necessary measures to continue to prevent and control Covid-19", reports Xinhua news agency.

The extension means that Australia's borders will be closed to international travellers except citizens and residents for about 450 days.

Australians have also been banned from leaving the country without an exemption during that period.

"The extension of the emergency period for a further three months is about mitigating that risk for everyone's health and safety," Hunt said in a statement.

Mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals to Australia is expected to remain in place for the rest of 2021.

About 40,000 Australians who have registered to return to the country remain stranded overseas due to strict passenger arrival caps and fewer airline services.

So far, there has been 28,986 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Australia and 909 deaths.

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