The Latest: Australia court upholds ban on pandemic travel

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A health worker conducts a COVID-19 swab test on a resident as they monitor cases at a village in Quezon City, Philippines on Monday, May 31, 2021. The president of the Philippines recently warned he will jail village leaders and police officers who don't enforce pandemic lockdown restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

CANBERRA, Australia — An Australian court has rejected a challenge to the federal government’s draconian power to prevent most citizens from leaving the country so they don’t bring the coronavirus home.

Most Australians have been stranded in their home nation for more than a year under a government emergency order made under the powerful Biosecurity Act. Australia is alone among developed democracies in preventing its citizens and permanent residents from leaving the country during the pandemic except in “exceptional circumstances.”

The libertarian group LibertyWorks argued the government dids not have the power to enforce the travel ban.

But the three judges ruled for the government Tuesday. They said Parliament knew the law’s impact would be harsh when it passed the Biosecurity Act in 2015.

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