Australia’s borders will stay shut while Covid remains a ‘dangerous situation’ overseas, Scott Morrison has warned.
The prime minster made the comments in a Facebook Live stream on Monday evening, more than a year since the international border was slammed shut on March 20, 2020, to protect Aussies from the growing pandemic.
‘It’s not safe right now to open up our international borders. Around the world, COVID-19 is still rife,’ he said.
‘We are still seeing increases in daily cases, particularly in the developing world… but around the world, it is still a very dangerous situation because of Covid.’
Australians have been banned from flying abroad for nearly 13 months, but domestic restrictions are now non-existent with a few exceptions (pictured, passengers from Melbourne arriving in Sydney on February 4)
Australia has not recorded any new cases of community transmission within the last week.
He said the government will move ‘quickly’ to vaccinate the nation’s most vulnerable population and vowed to ‘keep those borders closed for as long as we have to, but only as long as we have to’.
Mr Morrison’s comments followed new report Deloitte Access Economics’ quarterly business outlook last week that predicted that international borders would likely not open until 2024.
Deloitte economist Chris Richardson anticipated there will be some sort of quarantine remaining for incoming travellers for some time.
‘That keeps international travel – both inbound and outbound – pretty weak in 2022, and it may not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024,’ he said.
The prime minster made the comments in a Facebook Live stream on Monday evening (pictured)
Late last week health authorities recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine should only be given to people above 50 due to the risk of blood clotting.
It was the vaccine the Australian government was relying heavily on to reopen the borders, but it has since secured an additional 20 million Pfizer vaccine doses that will be shipped from abroad later in the year.
On Friday, 88,500 new vaccine doses were administered, bringing the total number inoculated to 1.16 million – well short of the four million Mr Morrison originally promised by the end of March.
Mr Morrison dumped the target on Sunday due to ‘uncertainties’ surrounding vaccine imports.
When speaking about heavily criticised vaccine rollout in his live steam on Monday, Mr Morrison said ‘a lot of people have had a lot to say about it’.
Scott Morrison admitted borders will be closed while the risk of Covid overseas remains high (pictured, Melbourne International Airport on April 8)
He was insistent that Australians should be thankful that the country is not riddled with Covid, providing more time for people to get the jab.
‘Now, I’ve been asked a bit about what our targets are. One of the things about Covid is it writes its own rules.’
‘You don’t get to set the agenda, you have to be able to respond quickly to when things change. We’ve just had one recently regarding the medical advice on AstraZeneca.’
Fresh figures show that Australia is trailing behind a number of coronavirus-riddled nations thanks to its botched vaccine rollout.
It is in second-last place out of all the countries analysed and sits on par with Botswana and below even Ecuador, according to a ranking by the Our World in Data website.
Since March 20, 2020, Aussies have been banned from flying abroad and those returning must go into hotel quarantine (pictured, international travellers arriving at the Intercontinental Hotel on April 8)
Australia also ranks 76th out of 156 countries on a scale by the Financial Times, which places it below nations such as India – which recorded 168,000 new cases in on Monday – Indonesia and Covid-hit Brazil.
Only 4.5 people for every 100 have been jabbed in Australia, which pales in comparison to nations such as Israel which has given 100 per cent of its population at least one dose.
Rwanda, which is still recovering from genocide at the hands of extremists in the 1990s, only just trails behind Australia with a vaccination rate of 2.8 people per 100.
Australia sits in a group with countries including Bangladesh, Bolivia and Palestinian territories, with nations such as Cambodia, Mauritius, Colombia, Nepal, Jordan and Guyana.