• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says there would be at least 1000 coronavirus cases in Australia every week if the international borders were to open, even if people were vaccinated.

Apr 15, 2021

He said work was under way to open a travel bubble with Singapore, but ruled out similar pathways for Europe, the United States, India, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and other countries with large outbreaks.
Australians, I dont think, would welcome the incursion of the virus into the country, he said.
Mr Morrison said experts were also exploring whether vaccinated Australians could travel without undergoing hotel quarantine, which lasts two weeks and costs $3000.
He earlier told a community forum in Perth that the first goal would be to allow Australians who were vaccinated to travel overseas for important purposes such as funerals and business.
Australians who were vaccinated could also be allowed to return home and undergo quarantine at home or other less stringent conditions compared with hotel quarantine.
That would enable Australians to travel first for business and those sorts of things, but ultimately if that worked well over a period of time and the data was showing that home-based quarantine was not creating any additional, scaled risks, that could lead to something more significant, he said.
That is how we move to the next step.
But Mr Morrison said it would require the backing of the state premiers.
If we were to open up, we would have to open up with an agreement that if there were cases in Australia that the rest of Australia internally wouldnt shut down because that would seriously damage our economy, he said.
The federal government closed Australias borders in March 2020 and has repeatedly extended the travel ban, which remains in place until mid-June but is likely to last until at least the end of the year after the delays to the vaccination program.
The closures led to tens of thousands of Australians spending months stranded overseas because of the caps placed on the number of quarantine spaces.
Labor backbencher Brian Mitchell said the priority should be getting stranded Australians home.
While the vaccination rollout is, of course, the top priority, the government should also be turning its attention and resources to getting more Australians home, more quickly, he said.
Latika Bourke is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based in London.
Peter de Kruijff is a journalist with WAtoday.