Overseas travel could be off the cards for Australians even after Covid-19 vaccines are rolled out across the country.
Australians have been locked in their own country in all but exceptional circumstances since its borders closed on March 20, 2020.
Not only does it stop Aussies from going abroad for holidays or to visit families, but the ban has also left multi-billion dollar hole in tourism sector – as well as stopping crucial fruit pickers from coming to the country.
Greg Hunt has now admitted that international borders will not necessarily open once all Australians have had the jab – which had always been billed by the government as the nation’s ticket out of the restrictions since the pandemic began.
‘Vaccination alone is no guarantee that you can open up,’ the federal health minister said.
Health Minister Greg Hunt (pictured) said ‘if the whole country was vaccinated, you couldn’t just open the borders’
‘This is a discussion I had with Professor (Brendan) Murphy in just the last 24 hours, that if the whole country was vaccinated, you couldn’t just open the borders, we still have to look at a series of different factors.’
Mr Hunt said health experts would have to look at a number of factors, including transmission rates and longevity.
The comments echoed prime minister Scott Morrison’s sentiments on Monday night when he said ‘it is not safe right now to open up our international borders’ while ‘Covid is still rife’.
National leaders have face ongoing criticism about the botched vaccine program that fell three million jabs short of the four million target by the end of March. Pictured: Nurses getting vaccinated in Townsville
National leaders have face ongoing criticism about the botched vaccine program that fell three million jabs short of the four million target by the end of March.
Mr Morrison dumped the targets on Sunday due to ‘uncertainties’ surrounding vaccine imports, and said on Monday that he would not be creating new ones.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, which is cheap and easy to transport, was the backbone of the government’s $7billion program with almost four million doses ordered from overseas and a further 50 million to be produced in Melbourne.
Pictured: Passengers at Sydney International Airport arriving after flying in from Auckland, New Zealand, in 2020
But the plan fell flat on Thursday when health authorities recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine should only be given to people above 50 due to the risk of blood clotting.
Late last week health authorities recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine should only be given to people above 50 due to the risk of blood clotting.
The government has since secured an additional 40 million Pfizer vaccine doses that will be shipped from abroad later in the year.