Australia’s Prime Minister has quashed all hopes of a 2021 European summer, labelling international travel as “not foreseeable” except maybe for New Zealand.
During an interview with A Current Affair‘s Tracy Grimshaw last week, Scott Morrison said that “right now, the opportunity for large scale travel beyond our borders is not foreseeable”.
His statement was in response to Grimshaw’s question about whether or not Australians will be able to travel overseas to see family before a vaccine is developed.
“I would hope and expect that before the end of the year, New Zealand and Australia will be able to agree [on] a safe travel zone between Australia and New Zealand,” Morrison said.
“The Prime Minister Ardern and I… were talking about that last week, and she remains as committed to that, as I do.”
ScoMo also touched on talks with other neighbouring countries about travel partnerships as far as to Japan.
“There are many Pacific nations equally that want to be able to be part of that,” he said.
“The discussions I had with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe … they’re keen to see more safe travel, so we will adjust.”
However, Morrison’s comments contradict an economic and fiscal update released last week by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann.
The report contained a list of ‘key assumptions’ that the update relies on, one of which was the estimation that the travel ban will be lifted as early as January.
“From 1 January to 30 June 2021, it is assumed that the travel ban is lifted, but that a two-week quarantine period is required of arrivals to Australia,” the update states.
“This leads to the resumption of arrivals by temporary and permanent migrants, but at lower levels overall than normal.”
Grimshaw also quizzed the PM on what will happen if we don’t develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
“Well, you keep washing your hands, you keep your one and a half metres distance,” Morrison said.
“You keep your health systems capacity up and strong. You keep opening your businesses.
“You keep ensuring that people book and sit at tables. That’s what you do. You run your country. You run your society in a COVID-safe way.”
Featured image source: A Current Affair