Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has hinted that international travel could happen faster and become easier for Australians if they get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday in Canberra, Hunt said international travel “should certainly be an incentive” for Aussies to be vaccinated.
“The position is I think quite clear, and that is we’re developing a roadmap based on three principles for the opening of Australia. And it’s progressive, and that’s the honest answer,” he told journalists.
The Health Minister said Australia’s international border reopening was built around the three principles.
“Firstly, around the notion of green lanes, with New Zealand initially where that’s working well, and where each country has to adjust for the circumstances in the other,” he said.
“We’ve been doing that and doing that without any fuss, and doing it very collaboratively between the two nations. That capacity exists to be expanded to the Pacific, possibly to Singapore, possibly to other countries.
“Secondly, there is the vaccination program itself and the spread of vaccination, the growing numbers that we’re seeing.
“And then thirdly, what we’re also looking at with regards to the opening of borders is that progressive capacity based on medical advice for those that have been vaccinated to have easier passage out and easier passage in.”
Hunt said the circumstances of the government’s third principle regarding vaccinations will be determined by the global medical evidence.
“We know that there’s near-universal prevention of serious illness, hospitalisation and loss of life. We know there is a high prevention of infection and re-transmission, but clearly not universal,” he said.
“We’ve seen that in Australia and we’ve seen that worldwide with cases that have come through quarantine, even though people have been vaccinated. So, that’s the plan and that’s the program. We’ll provide next steps as we have the medical evidence and advice.”
Hunt’s comments came not long after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed that the upcoming Federal Budget would assume international borders won’t open until at least 2022, despite the government predicting borders would open this year in October’s Budget.
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