Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official
According to Australian Health Secretary Brendan Murphy, the country is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021, despite plans to distribute vaccines to residents. Murphy’s comments have dampened hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country may resume by July. Dr. Murphy’s expertise was a driving force behind Australia’s initial early action to close its borders last March at the beginning of the pandemic.
Dr. Murphy made the prediction when asked about Covid-19 escalation in other countries over the past several weeks, some due to a new mutated variant of the virus that may be far more infectious, but yields the same symptoms and death rate. Even if Australia is successful in vaccinating a large portion of the population, this may not prevent transmission of the virus, according to Murphy. Citizens, permanent residents, and those with exemptions will be allowed to enter the country if they comply with a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.