Risky Business – Open Borders during a pandemic

Despite all the talk about 35,000 “Stranded Aussies” trying to get home, over 570,000 people have arrived in Australia since the pandemic really got going in April 2020.

570,000 arrivals is a lot of “Stranded Aussies” rescued but when one considers that there were 2.2 million arrivals in just January 2020 arrivals have dropped by about 98%.

Of those 570,000 arrivals during the pandemic about (44%) arrived in NSW. What is striking about the data is that how much the rate of arrivals was ramped up by Victoria, Queensland, WA and NSW during May and June 2021 when 218,000 people arrived.

Photo by Fiona Art on

With the Delta strain emerging in May 2021, this rapid increase in the rate arrivals into Australia might explain why we experienced a wave of quarrantine leaks across Australia, especially leaks involving the Delta strain. A large increase in arrivals would always have placed greater pressure on our “brown paper and sticky tape” hotel quarrantine model but add the Delta strain into the mix and you have a recipe for the mess we are now enduring.

It would appear the Australian public are now paying a very high price for the decision to rapidly increase arrivals in April – June 2021.

Who made this decision?

The states or the Federal Government?

Categories: Macrobusiness

2 replies »

  1. Who are these people? I need to return to Australia temporarily on account of seriously ageing parent and other family. From the UK it will cost me circa $15000 for an air ticket and quarantine alone plus all the other normal costs of travel. I would be forced to fly business class as the quota per flight doesn’t allow economy passengers. I am able to book an economy ticket but the airlines actually flying will not be able to honour it. Are students, new immigrants etc able to bypass some of these costs? The federal government has been very lazy dealing with quarantine issues, perhaps not enough money in it for cronies or perhaps the covid leaky hotel owners are THE cronies?


    • Yes – I am sure most people would be quite suprised to hear that almost 600,000 people have arrived since April 2020 when the borders were apparently closed. 600,000 is a lot of “stranded Aussies”.

      These are the figures for the top 10 countries of citizenship in the arrivals for May 21. The introduction of the NZ bubble clearly was part of the reason for the increase in arrivals in May 2021.

      NZ 52,280
      UK 2,440
      China 1920
      India 1400
      USA 1080
      Phillipines 870
      Vanuatu 600
      Samoa 200
      France 330
      South Africa 460

      I agree that the government should have taken quarrantine much more seriously if they wanted Australia to handle more arrivals safely but Scott Morrison needs to feel direct heat on his trousers to do anything.

      Having said that even if they doubled the capacity of quarrantine and doubled the number of arrivals we could handle that would only have increased arrivals to about 1 million since April 2020 and that would still be less than 5% of the usual number of arrivals. So I suspect fares would still have been very expensive and difficult to obtain.


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