Australia 'in no hurry' to reopen borders
The country is on the verge of being Covid-free
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that the country is "in no hurry" to open its borders and potentially risk its nearly coronavirus-free status.
Morrison was speaking at a televised briefing on Sunday when he made the comments.
Just like its neighbour New Zealand, Australia has taken strict measures since the start of the pandemic last year to curb the virus. Border closures, snap lockdowns, efficient contact track and tracing and high levels of community compliance have led the country to be very successful in keeping the virus under control.
Since the start of the pandemic, the country of over 25 million people has recorded less than 29,500 cases of Covid-19 and just 910 deaths.
PM Morrison told the briefing on Sunday: “Australia is in no hurry to open those borders, I assure you.
“I will not be putting at risk the way we are living in this country which is so different to the rest of the world today.”
For months, Australians have been able to live largely normal lives, with very little social distancing and most places not requiring facemasks. This is with the exception of occasional shirt snap lockdowns when community transmission is detected.
Australia's borders have been closed to all non-citizens since March 2020, and only begun permitting international arrivals in recent months, and even then this was very limited and was largely Australian citizens returning home.
However, from Monday Australians and New Zealanders will be able to travel freely between the two nations, with no requirements for travel or need to quarantine on arrival/return. New Zealand has arguably been even more successful in suppressing the virus, recording only 2,239 cases of the disease and a remarkable 26 Covid-related deaths.
The Australian Prime Minister also said that the government was planning on allowing vaccinated Australians to travel overseas for essential purposes in the second half of the year.
It's always difficult to not look at the Aussies and Kiwis on the other side of the world and question why, as a fellow island, we aren't in a similar situation. Even more of a pressing question is why we still haven't got similarly strict border controls in place, especially with the emergence of potentially dangerous strains of the virus in countries such as India, where the virus is rampant.
But I guess the answers to those questions can only truly be answered by the wisdom of Johnson, Hancock and co.