Tourism

ScoMo slams Virgin CEO’s “insensitive” comments, flags vaccine passport plans for interstate travel

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made his feelings known about the controversial comments by Virgin Australia’s boss about restarting international travel.

In an interview with 9News political editor Chris Uhlmann, Morrison described Jayne Hrdlicka’s push to reopen Australia’s international border even if “some people may die” as “somewhat insensitive”, pointing out that the tight travel restrictions had contributed to saving 30,000 lives.

“I find it very difficult to have any truck of what was said there,” he said, according to The Australian Financial Review.

The PM said international travel restrictions and hotel quarantine rules would not be eased until it was deemed safe to do so, but he didn’t discount the possibility of home isolation for returning travellers.

ScoMo also revealed in his 9News interview that the government will look to introduce vaccine passports for interstate travel – the first step in its plan to restart international travel.

While the PM conceded that forcing Aussies to prove they were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to travelling across borders would be controversial, he believes it will be an extra incentive for people to get the jab.

“We are already seeing it being done on the easing of restrictions on people in other countries,” he said.

Federal Budget papers revealed last week that Australia’s international border isn’t expected to reopen until mid-2022.

Expectations of a travel bubble with Singapore happening in the near future have been downplayed by the Prime Minister, with the Asian nation recently suffering a surge in COVID-19 cases.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian reckons it would only be safe to reopen Australia’s international border once roughly 83 per cent of adults have been vaccinated against the virus.

“We have around six million adults, and you would think at least five million should be vaccinated before we can have those conversations,” Berejiklian said.

“Once NSW has managed to undertake around that number, we can start considering those policy issues and I’d like to see that happen sooner rather than the middle of next year.”


Featured image source: 9News

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