Tourism

Australia’s most famous doctor warns international travel unlikely until COVID-19 vaccine is developed

The reopening of Australia’s international border is far from becoming a reality, according to the federal government’s recently departed chief medical officer (CMO).

Brendan Murphy, who has been guiding the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic up until the end of last week, said it was unlikely that Australia could welcome foreign tourists freely until a COVID-19 vaccine is rolled out.

“To fully open the international border without any quarantining or any restrictions probably will require a vaccine to be able to adequately protect vulnerable people in the community,” Murphy said in an interview with ABC News.

“Until that happens, we’re going to have some sort of border measures … and if we don’t get a successful vaccine in the relatively near future, then we have to re-evaluate.”

However, Murphy said he was “getting more confident” that a vaccine would eventually be found, and noted there may end up being more than one.

Murphy will become the Secretary of Australia’s Health Department next month, with Deputy Chief Medical officer Paul Kelly taking over as CMO in an acting capacity from today.

Murphy’s comments come as a number of countries eye travel ‘bubbles’ with Australia, including Indonesia, Fiji and of course, New Zealand.

However, doubts have crept in around the likelihood of a trans-Tasman ‘bubble’ happening anytime soon, given the recent rise in coronavirus cases in Australia and New Zealand.

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