Australia unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021

Australia unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021

Australia's chief medical officer, Prof Paul Kelly, has said that even when the coronavirus vaccine is rolled out "international borders will be one of the last things to change".Kelly on Tuesday said the criteria for when the country's global borders could be reopened was "a very dynamic space". It's been a key part of the nation's COVID-19 strategy, along with mass testing, sophisticated contact tracing and strict lockdowns. I think we will go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions.

"The answer is probably no", he said.

Brendan Murphy, who headed Australia's initial response to COVID-19 as the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) before becoming the Secretary of the Department of Health, said on Monday that full-scale travel to and from Australia would likely not resume until 2022.

"International borders will be opened when worldwide arrivals do not pose a risk to Australians".

He says even if they have a lot of the population vaccinated, they don't know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus, adding that he believes quarantine requirements for travellers would continue "for some time". So, I think at the moment we have got this light at the end of the tunnel - the vaccines.

Qantas boss Alan Joyce said travel to the United Kingdom and USA would only be able to happen once a suitable vaccine had been made and distributed to enough of the population.

Australia will begin its immunisation programme next month. Under biosecurity guidelines, players are allowed to train at dedicated venues for a few hours each day. Some tennis players have already tested positive for the virus.

McCormack also said "the Australian Government is working on travel arrangements with countries, such as New Zealand, that have low community infections". The education sector, once popular with Chinese and Indian students, has also been badly damaged by Australia's travel ban on most foreign nationals.

New Zealanders can travel to all states in Australia, except for Western Australia, without having to quarantine for 14 days.

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