Australian PM stands firm on border closure due to COVID-19, as industries plea for reopening

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday said it was still not safe to allow residents fully-vaccinated for COVID-19 to travel overseas, as industries hit hard by the pandemic press for a faster reopening of international borders.

“I understand that everyone is keen to get back to a time that we once knew. But the reality is we are living this year in a pandemic that is worse than last year,” Morrison told reporters.

Morrison said any plans to relax border rules for vaccinated travellers could be implemented “only when it is safe to do so”.

Australia plans to reopen borders to the rest of the world from the middle of 2022 even as the federal budget unveiled last week hopes to fully vaccinate its near 26 million population by the end of this year.

Airlines, tourism operators and universities – reeling from the impact of border bans – have been urging the federal government to fast track the opening of borders.

via Reuters