A travel warning had been in effect for tourists traveling from the US to Australia, due to the fires raging across the country and the consequent poor air quality, but that warning has just been downgraded. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison reportedly convinced President Donald Trump to adjust the travel warning, which had previously advised US citizens to “exercise increased caution” when traveling to Australia and “consider postponing their trip,” according to Forbes.
The warning sparked controversy in Australia for putting the country on the same warning level as Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and other areas with various safety concerns. France, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Antarctica, Spain, and the UK, among many others, are currently at Level 2.
According to a report on Sky News, “The (heightened) travel warning for American tourists was revised following the prime minister’s intervention […] Scott Morrison reportedly made the plea to ‘people very close’ to the US president and the request was discussed at ‘senior levels’ within the White House.”
The now-Level 1 warning advises tourists to “exercise normal precautions in Australia.” The warning does, however, caution potential tourists about the air quality, noting that it is exceptionally poor in areas affected by the bushfires, and may cause health risks for travelers. The Level 2 advisory still stands for the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales’ Central Tablelands, and Victoria.
On Tuesday, Melbourne had the unfortunate distinction of recording the worst air quality in the world. However, the good news is that air quality is slowly improving as storms this week are helping clear the smoke.