Australia’s prime well being chief has dashed hopes that the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine will enable folks to journey abroad this 12 months, predicting borders will stay closed till 2022.
The person who urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to close the borders final 12 months made the grim prediction this morning.
As the primary anniversary of the worldwide border closure approaches on February 1, Well being Division chief Brendan Murphy mentioned it is too early to say whether or not borders can reopen this 12 months.
“I feel that that could be a massive query. I feel that the reply might be no,” he informed ABC TV.
And he concedes the large cause is that regardless that the vaccination will cease folks getting the virus, we nonetheless do not know if it would cease them spreading it to others.
“I feel that we’ll go most of this 12 months with nonetheless substantial border restrictions – even when we’ve got a number of the inhabitants vaccinated, we do not know whether or not that may forestall transmission of the virus,” Professor Murphy mentioned.
“And it is doubtless that quarantine will proceed for a while. One of many issues about this virus is that the rule ebook has been made up as we go.”
Murphy’s prediction is grim information for 1000’s of Australian tourism operators, aviation firms and households determined to see family members abroad.
Simply weeks in the past, Qantas reopened bookings for worldwide flights and is now taking bookings for flights throughout its total worldwide community from July 1, 2021.
It was anticipated flights to Asian locations, together with Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, would additionally resume on July 1.
“We proceed to evaluation and replace our worldwide schedule in response to the creating Covid-19 scenario,” Qantas mentioned in an announcement to information.com.au.
“Lately we’ve got aligned the promoting of our worldwide companies to replicate our expectation that worldwide journey will start to restart from July 2021.”
However Murphy’s feedback recommend that is untimely.
“I used to be very cautious early on and I keep in mind saying this to the Prime Minister – I do not wish to predict greater than two or three months forward. The world is altering. So I feel in the mean time, we have this mild on the finish of the tunnel – the vaccine,” he mentioned.
“So we will go as safely and as quick as we will to get our inhabitants vaccinated after which we’ll take a look at what occurs.”
Murphy mentioned closing the borders was most likely his most momentous resolution because the nation’s chief medical officer all through the pandemic.
“That was most likely probably the most momentous day of my time. It was February 1,” he mentioned.
“I keep in mind, I used to be really in Melbourne on that day visiting household. And I seemed on the information, noticed the scenario in China and phoned Minister Hunt and phoned the Prime Minister and had a collection of conferences that day. And the borders had been closed at 9pm that night time. Which is a unprecedented factor.
“And I feel that our border measures, looking back, have been one of many explanation why we’ve got by no means actually had vital neighborhood transmission, apart from that second wave in Victoria.”
Murphy additionally revealed the Morrison Authorities was “not intimately concerned” within the Covid-19 disaster engulfing the Australian Open, describing it as a “Victorian public well being resolution”.
“I feel that they take the dangers very severely. It is terribly dangerous luck that they’ve had the positives on three flights, and I feel that they’ve performed a number of preparation,” he mentioned.
“Very unfortunate however, as we all know, the virus is unfortunately operating uncontrolled in lots of international locations abroad.”
Requested if there have been any selections he regrets throughout his time because the nation’s chief medical officer, Murphy mentioned he would have gone more durable on masks earlier.
“I feel that no one is ideal. I feel that our response has been fairly good,” he mentioned.
“I feel if we might recognized we had been going to get a second wave in Victoria, we have usually mirrored on what else we would have been in a position to do within the aged care preparation.
“I feel we most likely did not know the way helpful masks had been early on within the piece. And possibly they may have been launched a bit bit earlier. However on the entire, I feel that we did fairly nicely.”
Murphy additionally performed down the disturbing experiences in Norway of a small variety of aged folks dying after receiving the Pfizer Covid-19 jab.
“Look, I am not unduly involved. We’re attempting to get extra details about it.
“This group of people that had the jab, and sadly some died, had been very, very previous and frail. It isn’t clear whether or not the vaccine, how straight associated to the dying it was. The TGA is taking a look at this info.
“I nonetheless assume that the Pfizer vaccine will likely be OK, however I feel we’ve got to attend and see.”