Australia will not reopen its borders any time soon, as the chief medical officer Paul Kelly has stressed that international borders “will be one of the last things to change“, even when the Coronavirus vaccine is rolled out nationwide.
Kelly said that while countries are attempting to end the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, persons arriving from international countries would be “the source of new cases”, VisaGuide.World reports.
Australia’s chief medical officer highlighted that Australia would not change everything back to the pre-pandemic situation, even with the rollout of the vaccines. He stressed that the country is in an envious position compared to other countries worldwide.
“Unfortunately, I think international border changes are probably going to be one of the last things to change, rather than the first,” Kelly has stressed.
Professor Kelly emphasized that the rollout of vaccines is crucial to any future reopening, mentioning that some data showed reduced hospitalizations in some countries such as Israel.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously said that decisions on international borders would continue to be made, taking into account expert medical advice.
“We will see how things play out over the course of the year,” he clarified.
Australia has registered 28,740 COVID-19 cases of infection, and 909 persons have died, the statistics of Worldometers have revealed.
Currently, the country’s borders are closed for all foreign travellers, as part of the country’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. Only citizens and permanent residents of Australia are permitted to enter the country under the current restrictions.
Asked if the country could establish more quarantine-free arrangements with other countries worldwide, the chief medical officer said that the “green zone” system applied with New Zealand had been very successful. He considered it an excellent model to work on.
“We have had tens of thousands of people who have come across the ditch in the last few months and not a single case. We have done similar country risk assessments for many of the Pacific islands [nations]. We haven’t found another green zone country at this stage, there are some that are very low risk, and that is playing into discussions,” he stressed.
Professor Paul Kelly stressed that he “welcomes” authorities in New Zealand to consider permitting Australians to travel quarantine-free.