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Why will Australia not open its borders this year?

May 26, 2021 Headline News No Comments
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Australia’s recent announcement to keep the borders shut throughout 2021 is a living example of how timely caution during adversities can build a wall that protects us from future illnesses.

At present, Australia only has a few COVID-19 positive cases. The curve has been declining for the past couple of months. In 2020, the country was in the phase of community transmission and is now moving towards zero positive cases at a rapid rate- an impressive recovery.

As early as March 2020, Australia had put a blanket ban on international travel. And till now, the ban remains un-lifted, except for the air-travel bubble with New Zealand. The demography has even kept itself safe from sliding into the amber list and red list countries and made a place in the green list, announced by the UK for travel earlier this month.

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Despite being green-listed and honoured globally for its success in dealing with COVID-19, Australia has no plans of opening its borders for international tourists, at least for the year 2021.

Copyright © 2021 Kalkine Media

You might think complete vaccination will solve everything, but surprisingly, it is not the primary factor. 

Cautious move towards safety

The federal government had initially expected immunisation to be largely completed by October 2021. However, now the goalpost has been pushed until 2022 owing to medical complications from the AstraZeneca Plc jab.

Reports from the State and territory health departments suggest that Australia has vaccinated over 3.6 million people and would need approximately 30 more months to vaccinate its entire population. Sadly, the country is lagging behind the target by around 3.3 million doses.

Although the delay in immunisation is not the primary reason why the international travel ban will not be lifted this year.

Earlier this year, the secretary at the Department of Health, Dr Murphy had said, “Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus.”

If immunisation is not the leading cause, what is?

In the pre-pandemic times, Australia used to have 1 million travellers every month. The stats have now fallen to 7,000 travellers a month. The country only has an air-travel bubble with New Zealand and that too one way- New Zealand to Australia travel. Although, it is expecting to form more bubbles with countries recovering from COVID-19 across the world.

Copyright © 2021 Kalkine Media

 The blanket ban for international travellers is significant to keep Australia safe from the new-deadlier strains.

Earlier this month, Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Dan Tehan hinted that travel ban upliftment would take place around middle to the second half of next year.

More air bubbles would be there in the coming months, but the blanket ban would remain uptight. It should be noted that the travel industry in the country depends upon the global pandemic situation.

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The Government decided to keep the borders closed as deadlier variants of COVID-19 are emerging in countries like India. Naturally, uncertainties regarding allowing international visitors in Australia arose due to the fear of getting the latest strain in the demography.

Besides, depending solely on the speedy rollout of vaccine is not enough to prevent Australians from being threatened of transmission. It is not yet known to what degree the vaccine would be effective on different coronavirus strains.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has declared that international borders would only open when it is deemed safe by medical advisors. The country shares a clear advantage of being on an island. The federal government is trying to make the best out of it by protecting it from the worse phases of COVID-19.

Nonetheless, Australia has performed efficiently in tackling the deadliest virus of our times. Strong public health response, vigilant testing, tracing, and quarantining are the key factors determining Australia’s success story of battling the virus.

 

SOURCE: KALKINE MEDIA

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