Australia, largely freed from COVID-19, in no hurry to reopen borders

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits Tokyo

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By Lidia Kelly

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia isn’t any hurry to reopen its worldwide borders and danger the nation’s almost coronavirus-free way of life, Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated on Sunday.

Australia closed its borders to all non-citizens and non-residents in March 2020 and has been allowing solely restricted worldwide arrivals in current months, primarily its residents coming back from overseas.

The border closure, along with snap lockdowns, swift contact monitoring and excessive neighborhood compliance with well being measures, have made Australia one of many world’s most profitable international locations in curbing the pandemic, limiting coronavirus circumstances to underneath 29,500 infections and 910 deaths.

“Australia is in no hurry to open these borders, I guarantee you,” Morrison stated at a televised briefing.

“I cannot be placing in danger the best way we live on this nation which is so totally different to the remainder of the world right this moment.”

For months now, apart from some quick snap lockdowns, Australians have been capable of dine out, collect almost freely and cease sporting face masks in most locations.

They exchanged their worldwide forays for native journeys, with authorities figures displaying huge annual will increase in intra-state journey within the first months of 2021.

From Monday, Australians and neighbouring New Zealanders will be capable to journey between each international locations with out the necessity to apply for an exemption or spend time in necessary quarantine.

New Zealand has had solely 2,239 confirmed coronavirus circumstances and 26 associated deaths.

Morrison flagged on Sunday that vaccinated Australians could possibly be ready journey abroad “for important functions” and return by way of house quarantine within the second half of the yr, however that risk is simply in “planning levels”.

Australia just lately deserted a objective to vaccinate almost all of its 26 million inhabitants by the tip of 2021 following recommendation that individuals underneath the age of fifty take Pfizer (NYSE:)’s COVID-19 vaccine relatively than AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:)’s shot.

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