The chances of Australians making international travel in the near future look bleak with the country’s Health Minister revealing that it is unlikely that anyone will board a flight overseas this year.
Professor Brendan Murphy, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer for most of the last year, said a substantial border opening is unlikely by 2021.
Asked if Australians could expect a widening international border opening this year, Professor Murphy told ABC News Breakfast, “I think the answer is probably no.”
“I think we’re going to go for most of the year with border restrictions still substantial – even if we have a lot of the population being vaccinated, we don’t know if that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he told the program.
“And it is likely that the quarantine will continue for some time. One of the things about this virus is that rule books have been created over time. “
Prof Murphy said he was cautious about predicting over the next two or three months, given how rapidly the changes are occurring.
“I think right now, we’re getting this light at the end of the tunnel – vaccines. So we’re going to go safely and as fast as we can to get our population vaccinated and then we’ll see what happens. “
Meanwhile, Australian authorities are pursuing more detail after Norway reported a small number of extremely frail people died after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.
Health Secretary Greg Hunt said that could influence what advice the Therapeutic Goods Administration is giving Australia’s vaccine rollout.
Mr Hunt said at this stage no changes to Australia’s vaccine program were planned, which will start next month.
Most Australians want to be vaccinated
The government plans to distribute Locally produced Pfizer vaccines and jab AstraZeneca.
A survey of more than 1,200 people by market researcher Roy Morgan found more than three-quarters of Australians want to be vaccinated.
West Sydney residents were urged to undergo tests after NSW reported six new cases of the coronavirus.
And preparations for the Australian Open tennis tournament went awry after five more players tested positive for the coronavirus.
More than 70 players have been forced into hard lockdowns on hotel quarantines, meaning they wouldn’t be able to train for two weeks.
The influx of international sports stars has also highlighted the thousands of Australians who are still stranded overseas and unable to return home.
The federal government has secured an additional 20 charter flights to bring more Australians home by March.
But the government is facing calls to step up its efforts, with the global pandemic rapidly becoming much worse across Europe and the United States.
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