COViD-19: Have vaccine will travel overseas for Australians?
The opening of international borders is becoming a bit of an issue for business, not to mention travel loving Australians. Prime Minister Scotty (from Marketing) Morrison post-today’s national cabinet meeting, suggested that vaccinated Australians could travel quarantine-free overseas within months, provided health officials could develop border control guidelines that worked and still protected vulnerable people.
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Good news for Australians stuck overseas
With about 36,000 Australians yet to return from overseas, and education, airline and tourism industries lobbying the government furiously, it’s no surprise international travel is now on his agenda.
Scotty has tasked the Australian Health Principals Protection Committee’s (AHPPC) to provide advice on the recommencement of overseas travel for Australians who have been vaccinated and travel between other low risk countries. He confirmed that this will not happen until health workers and the elderly, and the immunologically compromised have been vaccinated.
So who will be on the international travel list?
The advice sought will cover options such as:
- Australians who had been vaccinated to be allowed to quarantine at home or not quarantine at all on return
- Allowing Australians immunised overseas to be approved for return to Australia
- Travel arrangements for low-risk countries with similar vaccine arrangements
Don’t get too excited, as getting the vulnerable immunised is taking twice as long as estimated, and even then non-quarantine travel might still be restricted to those who qualify for a travel exemption under current rules.
“The more Australians who are vaccinated, the more likelihood there is of being able to have the types of arrangements that I mentioned. If the vaccination population is lower, then that of course limits to options of borders.“Scott Morrison, Prime Minister
The admission of travellers immunised overseas would also depend on the assessment of those particular vaccines by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. That is particularly pertinent for Chinese and subcontinental students who might have received the Sino and Sputnik vaccines. China and India are also important markets for a return to normal at tertiary education institutions and for the local tourism industry.
Immunisation roll-out delays
The delays in the local immunisation program caused by the unavailability of the government ordered vaccines and the complications with AstraZeneka won’t help with the speed of re-opening our borders.
The government needs to lift its game in this arena. It was already faced with a difficult decision about opening borders, weighing up safety and economy, and now it has proved that it couldn’t organise a look out a window when it comes to ordering and delivering vaccines to the states to administer.