Scott Morrison says he won’t endanger Australians’ near-coronavirus-free lifestyle.
Australia is in no rush to reopen its international borders and risk the country’s almost coronavirus-free lifestyle, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday.
Australia closed its borders to all non-citizens and non-residents in March 2020 and has allowed only limited international arrivals in recent months, mainly its nationals returning from overseas.
The border closure, along with instant lockdowns, rapid contact tracing, and high community respect for health measures, have made Australia one of the top performing countries in the world in the fight against pandemic, limiting coronavirus cases to less than 29,500 infections and 910 deaths.
“Australia is in no rush to open these borders, I assure you,” Morrison said in a televised briefing.
“I will not endanger the way we live in this country which is so different from the rest of the world today.”
For months now, with the exception of a few short periods of lockdown, Australians have been able to dine out, congregate almost freely and stop wearing masks in most places.
They traded in their international forays for local travel, with government figures showing large annual increases in intra-state travel in the first months of 2021.
From Monday, neighboring Australians and New Zealanders will be able to travel between the two countries without needing to apply for an exemption or spend time in mandatory quarantine.
New Zealand has only had 2,239 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 26 related deaths.
Morrison reported on Sunday that vaccinated Australians might be able to travel abroad “for essential purposes” and return via home quarantine in the second half of the year, but that possibility is only in the future. “Planning stages”.
Australia recently dropped its goal of vaccinating nearly all of its 26 million people by the end of 2021, after advising people under the age of 50 to take Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine rather than AstraZeneca vaccine.